Kakamega County Governor Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya on Monday hosted high-level dignitaries led by the Swedish Ambassador to Kenya Her Excellency Madam Caroline Vicini to officially commission the Kakamega County Fish Processing Plant at Lutonyi, Shieywe Ward in Lurambi Sub-County
The processing plant which began operations this month has a capacity of processing up to 30 metric tons of fish in a day. The county says it has a high potential for Aquaculture in Kenya with 6,976 fish farmers and 9,988 fish ponds. This has the potential to produce a total of 1,798 metric tonnes of fish in a seven-month production cycle.
Speaking during the event, Governor Oparanya said the visit by the Amb. cements the partnership with the County Government of Kakamega further promoting the bilateral relations between Kenya and the European nation. The Swedish Government through the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) has over the years supported the Agriculture Sector Development Programme (ASDSP), a programme that supports three value chains of maize, dairy and poultry.
“The County Government appreciates our partners, the National Government through the Economic Stimulation Programme (ESP) and the DAS Group Kenya Limited, for investing over Kshs. 40 million (DAS) to upgrade this facility to ensure it meets all the requirements qualifying it to export fish to the much-coveted European Union (EU) market,” the Governor said. He added that the factory will address the challenges faced by fish farmers in marketing. The County the Governor announced, will soon start production of fish feeds.
The County cites various strategies among them providing fish feeds subsidies, employing extension officers and strengthening the Cooperative movement, as the ones that have steadily enhanced the growth of aquaculture in Kakamega. Recently the county was awarded a certificate as the best Aquaculture County by the Aquaculture Academy.
The Swedish Ambassador and Chief Guest Madam Caroline Vicini said the European Union (EU) has stringent criteria on its importations especially on foodstuffs and expressed her delight that the Kakamega Fish Processing Plant meets the required standards of exports to the EU.
Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) Vice Chairperson and Kisii Governor James Ongwae expressed optimism that the plant will receive excess raw materials from other LREB member counties and urged farmers in the region to embrace fish farming.
DAS Group Limited CEO Mr. Samwel Ondiek also called on residents to increase fish production to ensure a steady supply of raw materials to the plant. The guests later visited Jafi Fish Farm at Eshisiru, Lurambi Sub-County.
Others present were Governors Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, Dr. Wilbur Otichillo, Patrick Khaemba and Wycliffe Wangamati,