Women should be empowered to engage in male-dominant fish farming as a strategy to boost fish production in Migori which remains low at 18.2 metric tons per year instead of targeted 50 metric tons, Chief Administrative Secretary Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperative Development Linah Chebii Kilimo has said.
Chebii who spoke to fish farmers and the stakeholders at Rio Fish Farm on Wednesday said fish production would significantly improve in the county if women were given a chance and the resources needed.
While emphasizing the ease of fish farming, the CAS detailed that women could still play their roles at home as required along with practising commercial fish farming.
“You only need to feed fish twice a day and women can easily do that. Before they go to the market, they ensure food is given and thereafter before the day ends, they can administer second feeding, and that’s all,” said Chebii.
She called on the new strategic private investor at Fish Rio Farm and Migori County Government to ensure not only youth groups were given needed resources for fish farming but that women are also encouraged to form groups with aim of engaging in fish production.
The CAS, however, revealed that the government is soon launching an e-voucher, where smallholder farmers would be boosted to a tune of 70 per cent of the total cost of production.
Chebii, therefore, challenged Migori fish farmers especially women to capitalise on the government e-voucher programme when it is rolled out to boost fish production which still has remained low. She said the government aimed at considerably boosting small farmers’ income as key to changing their lives.
Principal Secretary State Department for Fisheries and the Blue Economy Prof. Japhet Ntiba who accompanied Chebii reiterated the need of Rio Fish Farm to work closely with the fish farmers with an aim of boosting aquaculture in the county.
Ntiba also tasked Migori County Assembly Members to allocate resources meant to have many farmers engage in commercialised fish farming from the current 1, 259 farmers to target 5,000.
He asked all the stakeholders including leaders to engage on how to boost fish production which is heavily consumed locally and has an ever-demanding foreign market.
The PS said Migori County was among the first six pilot counties for aquaculture, a situation he called on the fish farmers to exploit as the county is already fit for fish production.
He said fish farmers should ensure they produce enough fish to feed Rio Fish Farm mini processing machine which has a capacity processing 12 tons of fish a day.
Migori County Chief Executive Member in charge of Agriculture Valentine Ogongo said the county has given due attention to fish farmers and expected the number of fish farmers to increase soon alongside the fish production.
The leaders were speaking at Rio Fish Farm, Opapo, Rongo Sub County during the handover of the pond construction materials to the first batch of beneficiaries under the Aquaculture Business Development Program by the Government of Kenya and IFAD. A Fish Recipe Booklet to guide farmers on how to prepare delicious fish was launched.