KENYA – The Kakamega fish processing factory is set to begin exporting fish and fish products to the European Union market following receiving a certificate for meeting the international standards of the bloc.

According to Samuel Ondiek, the CEO of the DAS Group that is running the factory, the factory is now set to export fish products to at least 27 EU countries. The products include dried smoked, fresh, frozen, teaks and fish fillets, among others.

He said the factory has the capacity to process and export 20 tonnes of fish per day with the annual demand for fish being projected to be 7,000 tonnes.

“We have the capacity to process and export fish to meet the export market demands. We are investing in technology and proper infrastructure. We already have ready market for our products in Italy, UK and Netherlands amounting to 10 tonnes weekly,” Ondiek said.

“Two weeks ago we were in the final stages of acquiring legal documents including licenses and compliance certificates and as we speak we have met all the requirements.”

Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ADBP) fisheries officer, Susan Odinga and International Fund for Agriculture and Development led by county programme coordinator Norman Munala delivered the certification during a tour at the Lutonyi-based factory in Lurambi subcounty on July 25.

The company received certification as a centre for fish aggression, warehousing and international fish exports in accordance with European Union Standards by the Aquaculture Business Development Programme.

ABDP and IFAD also rated the company as one of the best fish factories in Kenya in terms of compliance and it has met all the standards locally and internationally.

Kakamega Deputy Governor Ayub Savula said the government is also keen on empowering fish farmers by providing them with subsidize feeds in order to make fish farming attractive and a viable avenue for diversification to avoid over reliance on a single crop.

“We are going to give farmers fish feeds for free, they will not incur any cost, we are going to make the fish farming viable in collaboration with our partners, we have factored the money in our budget to mobilise farmers from cooperatives and aggregation centre for fresh fish for a ready market,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Blue Economy and fisheries PS, Betsy Njani was put to task by the Public Investment Committee on the delay of operationalization of Kenya Fishing Marketing Authority (KFMA) and the Kenya Fishing Industry Cooperation (KEFIC).

In a statement the PS noted that the sector has been constrained in terms of budget, procurement and also Human resource that is why the parastatals have not been operational.

Njagi added that the national government will however be holding consultative meetings with county governments to reduce levies on local fish in a bid to reduce the cost of fish production.

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