KENYA – In a significant boost to the promotion of the blue economy, the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) is slated to establish a regional institute in Kakamega County, catering to the Western Region.

Benjamin Andama, the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Cooperatives, announced that the County Government is committed to supporting the project.

The collaboration between KMFRI and the county government involves the institute taking charge of construction and operationalization, while the county provides the necessary land for the project.

Andama highlighted that discussions with KMFRI are underway, and the project has garnered substantial support from the World Bank, intending to extend its services to other regions as part of the Blue Economy program.

“We recently visited KMFRI offices in Mombasa for benchmarking purposes and held talks with the Institution’s Officials led by the CEO James Njiru,” Andama stated.

“The project encompasses the construction of a Fish feed processing plant, Fingerlings production, and an Aqua Laboratory.”

Furthermore, the CECM outlined plans for capacity building for farmers and facilitating their connection to available markets.

Kakamega County has already made strides in advancing the blue economy, particularly through initiatives promoting fish farming.

Earlier this year, Kakamega was among the 15 counties targeted by the Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP), jointly funded by the Government of Kenya and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The ABDP aims to boost smallholder aquaculture development.

As part of the initiative, residents are encouraged to establish private fish ponds on their farms, supported by the county government’s distribution of free fingerlings.

Recently, fish farmers in the region began receiving mono-sex Tilapia fingerlings under the ABDP, with Labed Cash Marine Enterprise Fish Farm supplying fingerlings to farmers.

Laban Mwanzo, the owner of the farm, is set to provide 581,000 fingerlings to 581 selected fish farmers in Kakamega County.

The fingerlings, distributed to farmers across all 12 sub-counties, are expected to contribute to the growth of the aquaculture sector, enhance food and nutrition security, and empower local communities.

Other counties, including Kisii, Siaya, Busia, and Kisumu, have also benefited from the IFAD initiative, receiving fingerlings to support smallholder aquaculture development.

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