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Sh100 Million Boost for Fish Farming in East Africa

EAST AFRICA - The World Bank has released Sh100 million to enhance productivity and competitiveness of fish farming in three East Africa countries.

The collaborative project will run for two years and will involve intensive research in aquaculture to increase production in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, reports AllAfrica.

Kenya's ministry of fisheries Permanent Secretary Pro. Japhet Micheni Ntiba made the disclosure yesterday while launching the project at the National Aquaculture and Research Development and Training centre at Sagana in Kirinyaga County.

"Natural fisheries production has reached its limit of 100 metric tonnes leaving a widening supply gap that can only be narrowed down through aquaculture," said Mr Ntiba.

The project dubbed Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) will bring together top five scientists from the region to lead the progarmme with Kenya allocated sh24 million.

Mr Ntiba said the Kenya Marines and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) has been tasked to ensure all stakeholders in the sector are properly trained to address challenges facing the industry.

He pointed out that formulated fish feed quality is poor noting that the demand in Kenya alone stands at 30 metric tonnes and expected to rise to 200 metric tonnes soon.

"The feed in the market must be sampled since most of it is falling below the standards. We must certify the feed and scientists must help us," said the official. He further noted that the demand for certified tilapia and cat fish fingerlings has rose sharply to 50 million following the shs6 Billion Economic stimulus projects that saw the construction of 48,000 ponds.

"The private sector is expected to the prime mover of seed and feed industry with the government only playing a role of policy formulation," said Mr Ntiba. The PS said 130 private hatcheries have been licensed to multiply fish seed saying that the ministry alone is not currently meeting the demand by farmers.

Mr Ntiba further announced that the government was putting up five fish processing centres to be equipped with cold storage facilities to help farmers store their harvest before marketing.

ASERECA programme manager Jean Ndikumana said the project will take two years and will mainly focus on capacity building and research across East Africa.

Lucy Towers

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