State promises to boost fishing at Coast, create 2 million jobs

Industry contributes a paltry 0.5 per cent to GDP

In Summary

•Government to set up a maritime institute to train fisher folk

•Intends to raise sector's contribution to GDP to five per cent

Fish on display during the Lamu fishing competition
VALUE CHAIN: Fish on display during the Lamu fishing competition

The government will improve the fishing sector at the Coast, Vocational and Technical Training PS Kevit Desai has said.

Desai said the Kenyan Coast has the potential to employ up to two million people in the fisheries industry. Currently, the industry contributes 0.5 per cent of the GDP.

With proper management and investment, this can improve to five per cent, according to experts, he said.

“The potential exists. But this potential can only be realised if we are able to work together to create the necessary value chains and, increasingly, stakeholders will need to play a much bigger role.” 

He spoke on Thursday during the second graduation of the Kenya Coast National Polytechnic.

He said most of the fish products goes to waste due to inadequate value chains.

“We have to do a lot more. We need to ensure that we take care of the entire value chain of fishing – the ability to fish, the nets, the boats, mechanics, the ability to create the necessary infrastructure for fishing all the way up to processing, transportation and cold storage,” Desai said.

The Mombasa county government and the national government will set up a maritime institute of excellence to train fisher folk.

Mombasa deputy governor William Kingi said the county has identified land in Likoni and they are in talks with the community to acquire it.

“We have the sea but many of our youth lack the necessary fishing skills and end up catching only a few fish whenever they venture into the sea,” Kingi said.

The county is building 28 state-of-the-art boats for distribution to Beach Management Units for deep sea fishing.

Desai said Mombasa plays a major role in the country’s economy and stakeholders must collaborate to achieve the full potential of the city county, especially in the fishing sector.

The World Bank has given the Kenya a Sh1.2 billion loan to create a regional centre of excellence for the blue economy in Mombasa in the next two years.

The centre, which will deal with maritime and port logistics, will be used to develop human capital in terms of skills and competences required to compete with peers internationally and raise productivity, innovation and efficiency.

Desai said the centre will play a significant role in tapping the potential of the African market. Africa has 34 coastal states and approximately 13 million square kilometres of sea.

Africa also has 240,000 square kilometres of inland lakes. Kenya has access to 230,000 square kilometres of the sea.

The PS said the government will invest a further Sh250 million in Coast National Polytechnic’s centre of excellence in tourism.