• The county is banking on the partnership to double fish production in the region, thus enhancing food security and the economy.
• The county has more than 700 fish ponds, mostly managed by small-scale farmers.
Taita Taveta county is seeking a partnership with the European Union to establish a county fish hatchery and revamp the aquaculture value chain.
Governor Andrew Mwadime says the county has the potential of growing the economy by supporting small-scale farmers to start fish farming.
The region is one of the areas with high potential of tilapia fish farming in Kenya.
Mwadime said the county has over 700 fish ponds, with most of them being managed by small-scale farmers.
However, only a quarter of the fish ponds are utilised, necessitating the need to revamp the lucrative sector.
More than 300 fish farmers from the region have been receiving support and training on aquaculture through the Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani-led Go Blue project.
“Taita Taveta is the major producer of fresh water tilapia in the coastal region. We are now seeking more partnerships to unlock the potential through the establishment of hatcheries,” Mwadime said on Wednesday.
The Sh3.2 billion Go Blue Economy programme is funded by the European Union (EU) and is being implemented in all six coastal counties.
The programme shall be implemented over a four-year period between 2021 and 2024 and targets to benefit more than 3,500 youths and women in the region.
Through partners, Mwadime said, the county’s fisheries department is implementing the programme that is meant to revive and boost tilapia farming in the county.
Speaking during a meeting with European Union officials in Voi, he said the devolved unit is banking on the partnership to double fish production in the region, thus enhancing food security and the economy.
County Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation executive Erickson Kyongo revealed that the department has introduced an aquaculture curriculum at the Njoro Vocational Training Centre in Taveta.
He said the aquaculture training is spearheaded by the German Development Agency, GIZ as part of its efforts to boost and sustain fish farming in the county.
“We are aiming to strengthen our beach management units to help create a conducive and reliable sector that will offer alternative sources of livelihood to residents,” he added.
Further, he said, the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Institute is seeking land to establish a research institute in Taveta, with interest in Lake Challa which has a potential to harvest 700 tonnes of fish annually.
Despite the region being classified under the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs), he said, there is still enough water to support aquaculture and explore the economic potential in the sector.
(Edited by V. Graham)