The State Department for Fisheries and Aquaculture has committed to increase the number of officers offering extension services in counties around Lake Victoria in order to boost fish production in the region.
Speaking in Migori County when he toured the county to assess the statues of the fishing industry, the State Department for Fisheries and Aquaculture Principal Secretary Dr Francis Owino said Agriculture ministry in is the process of purchasing motor vehicles and motorcycles for extension officers to enable them to reach out to more aquacullture farmers.
Officials cite lack of market, high cost of production and unavailability of cold storage facilities as setbacks which discourage many potential investors from embracing aquaculture farming.
Dr. Owino who addressed the press at Opapo’s Rio Fish Plant in Rongo, said that one of the challenges that many farmers who wish to venture into fish farming face is the shortage of fingerlings.
He said along this effort, recruited farmers will get enough fingerlings from the county government.
“Another challenge facing fish farmers is the shortage of fish feeds. The fish feed is very expensive and constitutes 60-70% of the total production and most farmers can’t afford it,” said Dr. Owino.
Consequently, the Agriculture ministry in partnership with the Migori County government have come up with an economic stimulus project that is aimed at laying a good foundation for fish farmers to improve on fish production in the region.
Under the project, the two will negotiate for affordable prices with fish feed producers, as the cost of fish production had gone up tenfold during the past few years.
The PS urged all residents of Migori County to embrace fish farming as a business opportunity to promote livelihoods especially with the availability of the Opapo fishing plant which is already in the market for the aquaculture farmers.