The County government of Migori through the Department of Agriculture has embraced fish farming in the county as a means to improve the livelihood of the residents through sustainable food production.
While speaking at the occasion to celebrate world aquaculture day at Ranenville Fish Farm in Awendo Sub-county, the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Agriculture Lucas Mosenda confirmed the department’s initiative to use advanced technology in fish farming.
“As a department, we have plans to use advanced technology fish farming for maximum production as a compliment to the ever-diminishing fish in the lake,” he said.
Mosenda added that fish farming which is gaining momentum in the county is in line with the sustainable development goals (SDGs), enough food production to end hunger and starvation.
He said that the project will also be a platform to involve the youth in agriculture, a venture that has always been ignored by most youth due to extensive labour compared to the low income.
He stressed on the need for more residents to embrace the practice as it requires only a small piece of land, low labour with an assurance of maximum income.
“The fish farming project though profitable, requires only a small piece of land, meaning that you don’t need to have a large truck of land to practice it,” he added.
At the event held at Ranenville farm in Awendo Sub County, Mosenda reiterated that the practice is also geared towards reducing the distance for fish traders who have depended on Lake Victoria, as well as lowering ion the cost of fish production.
“The initiative to promote fish farming among the local residents will eventually reduce the distance they have to cover to buy fish from Lake Victoria,” he added.
According to the CEC, the County has already identified more than 1,300 fish farmers and over 1,500 fish ponds that are being targeted in the fish farming projects.
The fish ponds have been designed to hold at most 1,500 fish for maximum and quality fish production as a means to generate income through fish farming.
In order to achieve fish production in the County, the directorate of fisheries and development has struck a partnership deal with Ranenville Fish Farm, a private fish farm that has existed since 2015.
As the CEC reiterated, the Ranenville Fish Farm will be providing fingerlings to the fish farmers who have had problems accessing the fingerling from as far as Siaya County.
George Otieno, a farm manager at Ranenville Fish Farm said that the mission was to start a fish farm where farmers can quickly get fingerlings for their fish farms.
“We mainly wanted to be a leading supplier of fingerlings to the farmers who have had challenges of getting the fingerlings for their start-up fish farms,” said Otieno.
According to him, the idea came after observing how the fish farmers suffered just to get the fingerlings at punitive prices, apart from the long distance they covered, sometimes to the neighbouring County.
“We had to embrace the challenges of travelling long distances, sometimes to Siaya County to get the fingerlings at galloping prices, that’s when we decided to fully venture into this,” said Otieno.
Ranenville Fish Farm is among the three farms that produce fingerlings in Migori County that have been chosen to mentor fish farmers in Migori County.
According to a report from the Department of fisheries development, the partnership is alongside the 200 youths that have already been inducted into the fish farming program in the county.
Erick Okello, a co-director at the farm said that already, there are 10 youths employed at the farm who have already been well equipped with the fish farming technology.
“Already, we have ten youths employed in this farm, and are directly benefitting from the project while equipping themselves with the skills,” said Okello.