Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary Salim Mvurya recently flagged off the first export consignment of anchovies (dagaa,) fish from Kwale County to China, a market that is currently opening up more for Kenyan and African products.
The fresh consignment was dispatched from the Huawen Food (Kenya) Ltd, a Chinese company that has established a factory for processing, drying and packaging anchovies bought from local fishermen and shipping them to the East Asian country.
Anchovies are small, common forage fish and most species are found in marine waters.
“The Huawen Food Kenya Ltd a seafood exporting company is a plus to the economy of Kwale in particular and Kenya at large. It has created employment to our people,” said the CS adding that Kenya now has a chance to increase fish export to the Chinese market.
He says the 351 kgs which will be shipped to China is part of 70 tonnes already processed at Kibuyuni in Shimoni area of Kwale by Huawen Foods Kenya Ltd.
The Cabinet Secretary says the potential for anchovies caught by local fisher folk in the coastal county is sufficiently large to support export activities.
He expressed hope that the export would in the long run support local fishermens’ activities and increase their productivity.
Mvurya noted the export of anchovies sourced from the coastline to the Chinese market is anchored on a bilateral agreement signed by the two countries in 2022 aimed at facilitating bilateral trade in products such as avocadoes and aquatic resources.
He said access to the Chinese market will boost the growth of the fisheries sub-sector thus injecting fresh vitality into the local blue economy sector that encompasses fisheries, maritime biotechnology, aquaculture, tourism and marine transport and logistics.
Area Governor Fatuma Achani says the company is currently involved in anchovy fishing and export to China and has employed 150 people and is also engaging fishermen from Vanga, Gasi, Kibuyuni, and Shimoni in supplying anchovy.
The Governor thanked Huawen Food Company management for their investment in Kwale and assured of continued support from the county government.
“This is a good opportunity that has created an opportunity for our fishermen to fully explore the blue economy sector, and has also created employment opportunities for our people,” she said.
“As a county government we reaffirm our commitment to provide a conducive environment for investment such as the deal with China that opens a large market to companies.” added the County Chief
Achani says the export activities assure the local fisher folk of a reliable and sustainable market for their catch, hence spurring the growth of the local blue economy and also creation of job opportunities to the people.
She said the historical milestone by the sea food company avails an exceptional opportunity to local fishermen to venture into commercial fishing.
The flagging off event was also attended by Kwale Senator Issa Boy, Kwale Woman Representative Fatuma Masito and Liu Zhiyong the Director for Huawen Food Kenya EPZ Ltd.