KENYA – The Uasin Gishu County Governmet in Western Kenya has opened a Sh10m (US$99, 100) fish hatchery in partnership with University of Eldoret.

The Chief Officer for Fisheries, Victoria Tarus revealed that hatching had already started and that harvesting of the fingerlings will be done every one to two weeks and sold to farmers at affordable charges.

“The construction of Sh10 million (US$99,100) hatchery cum research institution is complete. It is a great milestone in fish framing in the region because now we will be able to distribute more than 100,000 fingerlings a week. The advantage of this hatchery is that framers will be given certified high-quality fingerlings,” Dr Tarus said.

The project is set to enhance output in the region where farmers taking up the enterprise are expected to increase by over four percent.

Dr Tarus revealed that the decision to have the hatchery at the university was influenced by the availability of expert manpower and new technologies.

Apart from serving farmers, the institution will use the project for teaching, research and extension services.

“We decided to have this hatchery at the university in 2015 when its construction begun because of required skills. Farmers will benefit through income generation and also job creation,” she said.

Uasin Gishu county has 1,728 operational fish ponds covering 486,000 m2 with annual fish production of 593,000 kg worth KShs 285,900,000 (US$2.83m).

The county also has many private and public dams suitable for capture fisheries with an annual production of 33,048 kg worth KShs 9,914,400 (US$98,285).

Fish farming has become a lucrative venture in Kenya, with ponds and cages as the latest frontiers of investment in addition to marine fishing.

This is a boost as the wild fish stocks in western Kenya are dwindling with cases of Lake Victoria suffering from overfishing and water hyacinth invasion.

Various organizations have as well set up initiatives to promote sustainable fisheries in Lake Victoria such as the US$2.2m European Union Development Fund’s E€OFISH programme by EU.

The overall objective of the program is to enhance equitable economic growth by promoting sustainable fisheries in the Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean regions.

The programme is to be implemented under the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO), has been endorsed by the First E€OFISH Regional Programme Steering Committee (PSC).