By Charles Wanyoro
The Embu County Assembly has criticised a Sh7.6 million project started two years ago to supply fishpond liners to farmers, saying it did not have any economic impact on the lives of the beneficiaries.
A report by the committee on agriculture, livestock, cooperatives and fisheries established that no fish had been produced from the project.
A total of 77 polythene fishpond liners, each costing at least Sh90,000, were supplied to individual farmers and learning institutions.
Committee chairman Salesio Kimaru said his seven-member task force visited all beneficiaries of the fishpond liners and concluded that the project was a failure.
He said out of the 31 projects visited by the committee, only three were operational.
The report shows that no impact assessment study or training was done before the project was started.
This left the fishpond liners in the hands of individuals and institutions with no capacity to run fish farms. Some fishponds had no water while other farmers had no idea where to acquire fingerlings.
“The money has been lost. We can’t say how it has benefitted the people of Embu,” he said.
Mr Kimaru also disclosed that implementation of the project was discriminatory, pointing out that five of the 20 elective wards in the county did not receive any fishpond liners.
The wards are Muminji, Mbeti North, Nginda, Gaturi North and Gaturi.
The fishpond liners project existed before devolution and was initially run under the Economic Stimulus Program.
The report further said the cost of the liners was inflated and overshot the budget by Sh125,000.
The liners were procured at a total cost of Sh7,625,880.60, though the budgetary allocation for the project in the 2014/2015 financial year was Sh7.5 million.
The committee recommended that the chief officer for agriculture, livestock, fisheries and cooperatives be held accountable for the losses incurred in the procurement of the liners.
They also want the official surcharged for all the Sh7.6 million lost to supply the liners, which the panel judged to be of poor quality.