KENYA – The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta has launched the Ksh 10 billion (US$92.7m) Kenya Marine Fisheries Socio-Economic Development Project, aimed at uplifting the living standards of fishing communities along the Kenyan coast and promote sustainable exploitation of the country’s fisheries.
The government initiative, supported by the World Bank is targeted to benefit 19 sub-counties in Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu Counties.
As part of the project, the government seeks to establish a fish processing factory in Lamu, as it targets to attain a landing of 300,000 metric tonnes of fish annually.
This is in a bid to meet the local demand of fish in the country which currently stands at 350,000 tonnes against natural production from capture and aquaculture which is 170,000 tonnes.
On capacity building in the sector, the President said the Government has designated the Bandari Maritime Academy to be the centre of excellence in training of seafarers and fisherfolk.
Also, the state seeks to set up a dedicated office to deal with oceans and blue economy issues in conjunction to reviving the Liwatoni fish Port.
“Building the capacity of our fishers to world standards is an essential part of this effort. The enhanced management framework, under the Oceans and Blue Economy Office should ensure that fishing vessels licensed to operate in our waters provide job and training opportunities for our fishers and young people,” the President said.
President Kenyatta further highlighted that the immense opportunity provided by the project must be exploited to generate investments, create jobs, increase tax revenues and sustainably improve local livelihoods.
He emphasized the need to commercialize the country’s enormous marine resources for the benefit of Kenyans by creating well thought strategic national systems and create at least 60,000 jobs over the next 10 years.
The project is part of the government’s post Covid-19 recovery efforts to be rolled in 5 years. “When successfully completed we expect this project to contribute to sustainable exploitation of Kenya’s marine fisheries. This represents a new dawn in the development of the coastal region; and it is a key pillar in my administration’s job and wealth creation agenda,” the President said.
Alongside livelihoods project, the President outlined several other interventions the Government is implementing to expand opportunities for employment and wealth creation in the emerging blue economy sector.
Agencies implementing the Kemfsed project will be the State Department of Fisheries, Blue Economy and Kenya Fisheries Service. Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) will also participate in the ambitious multi-agency project.
The gross marine product of the western Indian Ocean is valued at over Ksh 2.5 trillion (US$24.6b) with Kenya’s share estimated at slightly over Ksh 450 billion (US$4.17 billion).
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