FAO unveils Sh1billion plan for farmers, Lake Victoria blue economy
FUNDING: Lake Basin region is set to get additional Sh300 million to finance aquaculture and assist fishing communities affected by floods and Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said fundraising efforts were underway to increase funding to the region to Sh1 billion from Sh700 million currently being spent on financing seven fish and rice projects.
Carla Mucavi, the organisation’s Country Representative said the projects were targeting the youth and women, who bear the brunt of the disruption by adverse weather and loss of employment due to the pandemic.
Mucavi made the disclosure at a workshop to endorse Lake Region Economic Bloc Aquaculture Investment Blueprint in Kisumu County.
She she also announced the upcoming opening of a Kisumu office to work closely with the Lake Region Economic Bloc.
Speaking at the same event Agricultiure Cabinet Secretary Munya noted the significant contribution of the aquaculture sub-sector to the counties and national gross domestic product.
He said globally, aquaculture production has increased by 30 per cent every decade for the past 50 years.
“African production represents a meagre two percent of global production, which is dominated by Asia, and Kenya only represents four per cent of the African market, which is led by South Africa at 56 per cent”, Munya said.
The Lake Region economic bloc comprises Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kisii, Kisumu, Migori, Nyamira, Siaya, and Vihiga counties.
It is one of the most densely populated regions of Kenya with over 10 million people which constitute about 25 per cent of the population.
Munya said that opportunities abound for the youth whose movement from the region in search for employment had been curtailed by Covid-19 safety restrictions.
The two-day consultative meeting recommended the allocation of three per cent of total annual national budget to the Ministry of Agriculture for the development of aquaculture and fisheries sector.
Among other resolutions of the meeting is the need by the bloc to have revenue collected from fish ploughed back to improve infrastructure.
Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o reiterated the urgency of investing in the bloc’s infrastructure to boost development.
“The Lake Region has the potential to feed the nation if infrastructure challenges are addressed,”he said in a statement read on his behalf by Kisumu Senator Rose Nyamunga.