Kenya will continue to import fish from China at least for the next five years when production is expected to hit 500,000 metric tonnes.
Fisheries Development Permanent Secretary Prof. Micheni Ntiba says banning fish imports from China will only create shortage.
Fish consumption in the country currently stands at 10 kilograms per person per year up from 1.5 kgs per person a decade ago. Increased consumption has now created a 350 metric tons annual deficit. Due to low supply of fish the government lifted a ban placed on Chinese fish imports early this year to ease escalating prices.
Agriculture ministry now admits that importation of fish from China might persist for the next five years until Kenya meets half a million metric tonnes target.
Through a 14 billion International Fund for Agricultural Development funded project the government intends to scale up fish production in Homabay, Migori, Meru, Nyeri, Kisumu and Kakamega in the first phase of the project.
Under the project the 6 counties and 15 others with potential will see each receive two fish extension officers to boost aquiculture.
County governments have been urged to increase budgetary allocations to aquaculture to boost production as there is a ready market.
Kenya is also targeting utilize the long coast line and invest in fishing vessels to exploit fishing in the Indian ocean and generate employment in the country.