By Treezer Michelle Atieno
Fish farming in Nyanza, particularly in Kisumu County, has been on a significant upswing in recent years. As urban residents actively embrace this practice, it’s clear that fish farming has transcended its rural origins to become a vital source of income and nutrition for households in urban areas as well.
In a conversation with Chief Officer of Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock, and Fisheries, Erick Ogallo, we gained valuable insights into the current state of fish production in Kisumu County. He emphasized the importance of fish farming for both urban and rural communities and acknowledged the challenges the region faces in meeting the high demand for fish. In his words, “Fish production in Kisumu County is still not sufficient, leading to high costs of fish.”
To address this issue and bolster local fish farming, recent initiatives have come to the forefront. Victory Farm, in a noteworthy gesture, donated 50,000 fingerlings to 50 smallholder fish farmers in Kisumu County, covering areas like Nyakach, Muhoroni, Nyando, Kisumu East, Kisumu West, and Seme Sub Counties. The primary aim of this initiative is to bridge the gap between supply and demand for fish in the region.
In an exclusive statement during the distribution of fingerlings at a local farm in Kajulu, Kisumu East Sub County, Ogallo expressed his appreciation for Victory Farm’s support. He passionately encouraged local farmers to make the most of this opportunity by expanding their fish production. “To meet market demand, we need our farmers to recruit more people into fish farming,” he urged. Furthermore, Mr. Ogallo emphasized the importance of meticulous record-keeping for farming businesses and advised farmers to register into existing groups or Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs).
Susan Adhiambo, the County Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture, also shared her insights on the current state of fish production. She lauded Victory Farm for their commitment to providing quality fingerlings to local farmers. Madam Adhiambo underlined the directorate’s dedication to offering extension services to ensure the success of fingerlings in growing to a suitable size. She further expressed the directorate’s interest in collaborating with Victory Farm and other organizations on upcoming programs like World Food Day.
Victory Farm, represented by Mr. Dan Ombado, discussed their commitment to assisting local farmers in overcoming challenges related to feeds and fingerlings. He emphasized the high demand for fish in the region, despite Victory Farm’s impressive daily production of up to 40 tons. In his words, “we empower local farmers with quality feeds and fingerlings to help bridge the demand gap.”
In addition to fingerlings and feeds, Victory Farm has ambitious plans to set up a feed mill in Naivasha. This mill will provide quality feeds to the entire region, further supporting local fish farming. They are also collaborating with the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KEMFRI) to address specific challenges, such as restocking depleted tilapia species. Moreover, they are deeply involved in innovative programs like aquaponics and circular economic models, highlighting their dedication to the long-term sustainability of fish farming in Nyanza.
Collaboration between the government, organizations, and farmers will be instrumental in ensuring the sustainability and growth of the fish farming sector in Nyanza. As Mr. Erick Ogallo aptly puts it, “To meet market demand, we need our farmers to recruit more people into fish farming.” It is through such collective efforts that Nyanza can successfully navigate the path to fulfilling its fish production potential.