Fishermen in Homa Bay will no longer need rely solely on Lake Victoria following the launch of an aquaculture empowerment project in the county.
Through the National government programme, farmers will get support to set up fish ponds which will ease fishing pressure on the lake.
Agriculture, livestock and fisheries Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Lina Jebii Kilimo said the government is, at the same time, distributing liners to Homa Bay farmers who already have fish ponds as part of the drive to boost production.
“The project is meant to boost livelihood of rural farmers from poor households. Fish pond farming is an important economic venture that will uplift living standards of many households,” Kilimo said during the launch of the project in Homa Bay town.
The pond liners were distributed to 40 farmers through Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP).
Saying the liners, are laid in a pond to prevent seepage of water into the ground, will enable the farmers to undertake fish farming sustainably, Kilimo added that the programme also aims at improving food security besides boosting local farmers’ income.
Kilimo, who was accompanied by Fisheries PS Japheth Ntiba and Homa Bay Agriculture executive Aguko Juma, said the programme is also part of the government’s agenda of improving locals’ health through enhanced nutrition.
On his part, Ntiba urged the County government to enhance sustainability of the programme by incorporating aquaculture in their budget.
“The national government is supporting the project to kick off. Homa Bay County government should allocate funds in its annual budget to ensure its sustainability,” Ntiba said.
The PS warned that illegal fishing practices in Lake Victoria, unless stopped, will spell doom for the lake resources.
“Let fishermen stop catching fish which are undersize because this will lead to extinction of many fish species in the lake,” he said.
Juma said aquaculture will end overreliance on Lake Victoria for fish and reduce pressure on the water resource.
“Many people will have alternative source of fish,” Juma said, and urged the farmers to insure their projects to cushion them from losses in case of a misfortune.