KENYA – The Kenyan government has officially commissioned the Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP) boosted by Ksh.14bn (US$130m) financing loan from International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) to support fish farming & aquaculture in the country.

The program will boost fish productivity in the country amid dwindling production and a freeze on the Chinese market that used to supplement the local market.

“There is already a significant gap between the current fish demand of 600,000 metric tonnes and the national fish production – 150,000 metric tonnes,” said Agriculture CS Peter Munya as he presided over the commissioning and handing-over of ABDP vehicles to the first six implementing Counties i.e. Nyeri, Meru, Kirinyaga, Homa Bay, Kakamega and Migori Counties and the ABDP Programme Coordination Unit.

The remaining 9 Counties i.e.Kiambu, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Kajiado, Machakos, Busia, Kisii, Kisumu and Siaya will receive the vehicles in the next Fiscal Year, reports Kilimo News.

“Kenya aspires to raise the current per capita fish consumption per year from 4.5 kg per person per year to over 10 kg per person per year by 2030. This indicates a huge consumption gap and a potential market for the Kenyan fish farmers,” said Munya.

ABDP presents great opportunities for over 35,500 households (213,000 beneficiaries) who include smallholder aquaculture farmers, input suppliers, aggregators (Independent Aquaculture Aggregators) and processors through Public-Private-Producer-Partnerships (PPPP). 

The program includes support to County-level extension service provision, support to smallholder aquaculture farmers to acquire inputs and rehabilitation/construction of production units, capacity building for aquaculture value-chain players, complete the link between producers and markets for farmed fish and create structured markets and institutions in the aquaculture value chain. 

The Smallholder farmers will be organized into Smallholder Aquaculture Groups (SAGs).

The Program will support Counties in making the Mini-fish Processing Plants, to develop into Aquaculture Business Hubs.

IFAD Country Director (and Head Eastern Africa & Indian Ocean Hub) Esther Kasalu commended the government as the County and sub-county implementation teams are in place.

“We further acknowledge the fact that these teams are mobilizing farmers, despite the reduced mobility due to COVID-19. They have also embarked on stocking dams with fingerlings.”

“The project is to support existing companies both public and private who were already producing fingerlings with infrastructure and inputs,” said Kasalu.

She added that the project is working with County governments in the Western region to assess the impact of floods on the fishing communities so that it can be determined how to support the communities. 

“With these vehicles, our extension officers will now be able to reach farmers, even and more so, in remote areas, so that those who are interested will get the support required,” she added.

The ABDP is building up on the success achieved by the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) launched by the government in 2009 – 2013 to promote smallholder aquaculture fish production through targeted support for input supply, fish production, post-harvest management and related activities.