Homabay County is known for having the longest fresh water shoreline from Lake Victoria in Kenya and is a rich area to conduct the business of fish.
The county has gone numerous competitive advantages, and due to this, its fish sector has a potential to significantly contribute to the growth of the county and the country at large. The existing opportunities are in terms of employment, income generation and as a source of preferred nutrition.
Currently, the Nile perch fish volumes from Lake Victoria are approximated at 18,500/50,000per annum, with an unexploited potential for cage culture estimated at 64,500 metric tonnes.
The fish industry is in Homabay county currently employs 900 to 3000 people directly, but it has the potential of directly employing 98,000 to 150,000 people if well invested into and enough resources generated towards the industry.
Due to lack of resources, the sector tends to be faced with numerous challenges including continuous use of old technologies which hampers full development of the industry. Fishermen lack chilling and cold storage facilities, which results into huge post fishing losses. This is one sector that investors need to venture into and improve the industry. Fishermen need to be equipped with modern fishing methods which will be a great boost to them and the industry at large.
The water hyacinth menace coupled with pollution of Lake Victoria hinders the breeding and migration of some fish species, thus leading to a reduction on the amount of fish in the lake. Action has to be taken so that this area cleaned, treated and well taken care of, so as to ensure that the fish is in conducive environment for breeding and survival.
Other challenges include the prevalence of illegal fishing and pirates. This is why investors have to take over the industry in the county and invest in the patrol boats which will be helpful in fighting piracy. A fish processing industry also need to be put up in the county, so as to enable fishermen access market easily.
The fish processing plant will pave way for the utilization and processing of low-value fish products which are in very high demands by consumers. Such products will also boost the fish export market. There exists ready market both locally, regionally and internationally.
Article by Vera Shawiza.