By Robert Manyara NAIROBI (Xinhua) — Fisheries sector in Kenya is attracting more accommodating innovations as the government seeks to tackle over-dependence on lakes and ocean waters. One of them is the solar powered pond pump.
Farm Africa, an international organization working with rural Africa, is popularizing this new way of rearing fish in Kenya, promoting the government’s effort to reducing poverty through inland fish farming.
The pump which can be used by both small and large scale farmers, utilizes solar power to pump water into and out of the pond, explained Solomon Otieno, the organization’s marketing officer on Monday.
“Farmers can use the water from the pond which is rich in nutrients to irrigate farms and be able to increase their yields,” he told Xinhua.
Otieno said adoption of the innovation draws attention away from fishing in the lakes presently overexploited.
“We are popularizing this solar pump for the ponds in 16 counties spread across the country as we seek to encourage many farmers to rear fish in the ponds,” he said.
In the past three years, the government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock has been aggressive in its campaigns against over-dependence on lakes and Indian Ocean for fish.
It is encouraging farmers to establish ponds within their farms as also a way of increasing food security in the country, boosting nutrition in homes and eliminating poverty from households.
Fisheries and aquaculture sector is yet to be among major contributors to the Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as it currently averages at a mere 0.54 percent, according to 2013 Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) data.
Otieno said it is not enough to train farmers on adoption of fishing technology if they are unaware of how to market the fish.
“You can’t just train farmers and leave them to think about the way forward. You need to help them connect to the market,” he said.
“That is why we work with all stakeholders along the value chain like those who produce fingerlings, offer input and market.”
He said it is very important for the farmers to have an insight of the market prior to embarking on any farming venture to avoid losses.
He says innovations play a role in enhancing farmers’ agricultural activities. “Some of these new technologies coming up help the farmers to commercialize well their farming and be able to succeed in agribusiness,” he said.
Recent report by FAO on state of global fisheries sector indicates an increase in consumption of fish but raises concern on overfishing in fresh and marine waters.
The 2016 State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report states that global per capita fish consumption has risen to above 20 kilograms a year.
However, the fish capture situation is worrying. FAO says in the report that almost a third of commercial fish stocks are now fished at biologically unsustainable levels, triple the level of 1974.
Kenya now has a fresh law on management on fisheries sector whose long-term objective is to improve lives of Kenyans, especially those who directly depend on fish farming for survival.
The Fisheries Management and Development Act (2016) has stipulated guidelines on conservation, management and development of fisheries and other aquatic resources in the country, regulations intended to encourage sustainable fishing practices.