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Pastoralist communities in Isiolo turn to fish farming

By Dorcas Mbatia
Thursday, August 20th, 2020
In summary
    • Launching the programme, Isiolo County Government in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP), under a program dubbed Sustainable Food Systems Project (SFSP) also donated about 11,500 Tilapia and catfish fingerlings and three-quarter tones of start-up feeds.

Livestock farmers in Isiolo County have turned into fish farming in a bid to mitigate child malnutrition in the region.

Speaking to People Daily, County Boss Mohamed Kuti said rearing of fish which has not been a mainstay of the pastoral communities has taken root in Isiolo with the majority of the residents now turning to the new venture to help curb the rate of malnutrition in the drought-hit parts of the region.

"We have for decades concentrated on traditional livestock farming. However, extreme droughts emanating from climate change that have in recent years caused enormous livestock deaths coupled with pre-existing issues of child malnutrition have forced us to diversify to fish farming which is doing very well currently, " added Kuti.

Launching the programme, Isiolo County Government in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP), under a program dubbed Sustainable Food Systems Project (SFSP) also donated about 11,500 Tilapia and catfish fingerlings and three-quarter tones of starting feeds.

Addressing the farmers in three major wards which have adopted the farming, WFP head of Programme Charles Songok lauded the county government for the support adding the organisation is devoted to reach and support thousands of farmers from the pastoral communities even in the other neighboring counties like Wajir, Mandera, and Marsabit.

"The organisation is focused on improving proper feeding and curb food shortage in Arid and Semi-Arid regions by empowering the locals to adopt fish farming alongside animal keeping," added Songok.

He said local pastoral communities have, through this project made immense strides in adopting fish farming having reached 11 self-help groups and five large scale individuals who have benefited through the construction of raised and sunken fish ponds.

"Apart from having fishponds constructed for us, we have learned a lot through this project. Very few of us had any knowledge on the nutritional value of fish, how to feed fish and how to deal with monitor lizards that prey on fish especially in sunken ponds. Our culture has always instilled a negative inclination towards fish as food but now we are enlightened and happy to rear fish," said Makkai Intalo a fish farmer.

The County Boss further noted his government will allocate funds to support the farmers and ensure fish farming project make a remarkable social-economic impact both locally and internationally.

The farmers were also taken through a feeds formulation training and a team of select farmers will next month undergo a comprehensive training through the ministry of Agriculture to fully equip them with knowledge and expertise in fish sector.

"This will result to more pastoral communities benefit from 40 fish ponds as well as fingerlings in the next phase after the training because our goal is to both address issues of malnutrition in our host county as well as sustainable economic empowerment for our target beneficiaries,” added Songok.