Fish prices in Kenya rose by 11% in 2020 due to decline in China imports, local production

KENYA – Kenya registered a decline in volume of fish caught from the Lake Victoria in 2020, reducing from 90,000 metric tonnes of the previous year to 86,000 metric tonnes.

The decline in local production was coupled with reduced imports from its main market, China triggering a rise in prices.

According to reports by Business Daily, value of fish imports from China dropped by 31 percent or Ksh700 million (US$6.4m) as a result of Covid-19 pandemic disruptions.

Industry data indicates that the value of imports from the Asian country dropped from Ksh2.2 billion (US$20.3m) in 2019 to Ksh1.5 billion (US$13.8m) last year as quantities shipped from China declined significantly — the first decline in five years.

The reduced imports saw fish prices in Kenya increase by 11 per cent to Ksh175 (US$1.62) a kilo last year from Ksh158 (US$1.46) in 2019.

China still accounted for the largest share of fish that were imported from the world, raking in 70 per cent of the total value of shipment in 2020.

China fish, mainly tilapia, is normally cheaper than the local catches. A fish imported from China goes for Ksh250 (US$2.13) while local fish sells at between Ksh350 (US$3.24) and Ksh400 (US$3.70) depending on the size.

Despite the decline, China still accounted for the largest share of fish that were imported from the world, raking in 70 per cent of the total value of shipment in 2020.

The value of China fish imports has been rising steadily over the past five years as the Chinese take advantage of their cheaper supplies to gain a foothold in the Kenyan market, leading to uproar among local fish traders and fishermen.

However, Kenya cannot avoid the imports as the volumes of the catch at Lake Victoria, which is the country’s major source of fish have been dwindling over years.

Meanwhile in Morocco, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) under the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has signed a cooperation agreement with the National Fisheries Research Institute (INRH) and Mohammed I University in Oujda, Eastern Morocco.

The partnership agreement seeks to boost training and research in the field of marine sciences and fisheries in the Mediterranean region.

Under the agreement, the Moroccan university will contribute to technical training, while the fisheries research institute will boost research capacities. The UN’s GFCM will publish research results and outcomes at regional levels.

A joint research unit will be implemented at Mohammed I University, focusing on developing training and research in marine sciences.

The research unit’s objective is to meet the needs and challenges discussed during the GFCM Forum on Fisheries Sciences in the Mediterranean and Black Seas in 2018.

It will also monitor and evaluate the outcomes of research projects, training, and educational programs, while contribute to the objectives of the UN Decade of Ocean Sciences in the service of sustainable development 2021-2030.

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