Empowering Obunga Fish Traders

By Treezer Michelle Atieno

Obunga Fish Market is a vital lifeline for 300 households in the Kisumu County. This market isn’t just a place of commerce; it’s a beacon of hope for widows, single mothers, and youths striving to make ends meet. These individuals, organized into four groups, have found a way to thrive by harnessing the potential of Nile perch byproducts, turning what some might discard as waste into a plethora of valuable goods.

The byproducts they handle include fish skin, fish frames (known as ‘mgongo wazi’), fish eggs, fats, bones, intestines, and fillets. From these raw materials sourced from factories like Sea Foods in Kisumu and Lake Treasures in Mbita, they produce an array of products, ranging from human food to organic manure.

Rose Atieno, the Chairlady, proudly asserts that nothing from the fish goes to waste. Through innovative approaches to value addition, these communities have transformed their lives. They now have the means to educate their children, feed their families, and even pay monthly rent, all thanks to their entrepreneurial spirit.

Equipped with skills acquired through capacity-building programs, such as making samosas, kebabs, and jewelry, these traders have diversified their offerings, attracting more customers and securing their livelihoods.

Carren Onyango, a group organizer, highlights the importance of support from organizations like ASDSP (Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme). With ASDSP’s assistance, they now have access to clean water facilities, improving hygiene standards and overall working conditions. This simple upgrade has made a significant difference, shielding them from the harsh elements they once endured while working in the open air. ASDSP has also provided four special jikos, which not only promote health but also reduce firewood usage, leading to substantial cost savings

However, challenges persist. Syprine Adhiambo, the Assistant Chairlady, voices their need for a cold room to store fish byproducts. With limited supply from factories, having a cold room would enable them to purchase and store more products, ensuring a steady business throughout the seasons.

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