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Fish farmers to benefit with over 300,000 fingerlings from County Government.

Fish farmers to benefit with over 300,000 fingerlings from County Government.Members of the Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Committee learn about fish breeding and rearing in Kigongo, Gatundu South.Fish farmers in Kiambu County will soon be able to access over 300,000 fingerlings and other materials to benefit their fish farming business. This is after the approval of a budget by the Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Committee. The allocation will be used to procure fingerlings, fish pond liners, freezers and other materials that will benefit farmers.

Members of the Committee, recently visited a fish farm in Gatundu South Sub-County to learn and experience the process of fish farming, and how it can benefit the county. The first of its kind visit by the committee is a kick starter to the conversation that could potentially benefit youths in the county who are interested in fish farming.
The farm, known as Pegi Fish Farm, has been in operation for the last 16 years, mainly focusing on fish breeding, where farmers purchase fingerlings for their own farming.
Githinji Kungu, the owner of the farm, says he began fish farming out of passion and patience which has seen his farm grow to be one of the established fish farms in the county and a learning hub for individuals who may be interested in the practice.

“It is capital intense in terms of infrastructure, but in terms of input and feeding the fish, you cannot compare with any other type of farming. It is relatively cheap. When you have passion do it, many people lack patience but it is a good business venture.” He said.

The committee through its Chairman Hon Joseph Mwai (M.C.A Nyanduma Ward) relayed their support for fish farming in the county as a business venture for youths and as an avenue for revenue collection through sport fishing and recreational fishing.

“We are pleased to learn about fish farming and we applaud Githinji for the work he is doing. We have seen that there are many opportunities for our youths and we are encouraging them take it up as well,” said Hon Mwai.

He added, “several farmers in the county have in the past benefitted from fingerlings that the county has provided for them, an initiative that is ongoing and as an arm of the County Government, The Assembly, will look at ways to regulate and promote fish farming in the county so as to benefit the farmer but also the county at large.”
Several initiatives to benefit the youth have been lined up including a dam fisheries initiative which is encouraging the youth to form groups and go in to fish farming using the dams. Murera, Rungiri and Tigoni dams are some of the dam initiatives that are already taking place. Several youth groups have been provided for fish cages, where they rear fish for consumption and for sale within a confined section.

Olive Theuri, the fisheries officer in charge at the County Fisheries section said that the County Government is committed to support fish farming by allocating resources and much needed materials that will enable the farmers.

“Our mandate is to support aqua culture development, and assist our fish farmers with all the necessary resources they require. We are also bringing the farmers together and network them. We bring together farmers into cooperatives, we encourage farmers to come together and learn from each other.” She said.

With the approval of the budget, the fisheries department will initiate several initiatives involving the youth and will procure 300,000 fingerlings at a subsidized cost from the more established farms, which will be given to farmers. The budget also consists of liners and fish feeds pelletizers, which will encourage farmers to make their own feeds.
“We also have freezers, which will promote fish marketing. These freezers will be issued to groups, where the farmers will establish an outlet where they will also be able to reach the consumer. We noticed a gap between the farmers and the consumers. We have 6 so far and soon we will be getting at least 12, 1 for each sub county, to link the farmers to an easy market,” said Ms. Theuri.

She further added that, several fish farmers in the county have been part of a collaboration between the Government of Kenya and IFAD, known as the Aquaculture Business Development Program, which will offer farmers support in capacity building, input provision and linking them to a marketer.
Fish farming is not only restricted to the edible fish types of Tilapia and Catfish. Ornamental fish farming for fish used aquariums and luxury ponds and recreational fishing as a hobby is also a venture gaining popularity given its high returns.

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