By Sharon Atieno
With annual global growth in fish consumption exceeding that of meat from all terrestrial animals combined, the fisheries sector is a promising area for investment.
Noting the role of fisheries resources in food and nutrition security, Permanent Secretary State Department for fisheries and Blue Economy called for the need of the private sector and other agriculture industry players to invest in the sector to ensure agricultural growth.
Speaking during the ongoing National Agriculture Summit, Prof. Micheni Ntiba noted that there was need to invest in order to cover the fish production deficit in the country.
Currently, Kenya consumes around 400,000 metric tonnes of fish yearly but only produces an estimated 140, 000 metric tonnes annually. The deficit is covered by importations from other countries.
Observing that aquaculture contributes significantly in the total global fish production annually, he added that there was potential in investing in both marine and inland fisheries but noted that aquaculture had more potential.
“Future fish on our tables will not come from natural sources but will be from fish farming,” he said, decrying the high rates of overfishing which is depleting fish stocks in the natural waters.
The government’s strategic action in the fisheries sector include: increasing production from aquaculture, small scale fishery and industrial and semi-industrial fishing operations and reduction in post harvest losses.
“The national government will continue to provide policy directions, research information and technologies, standard and guidelines to ensure sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture resources and a healthy environment,” he said.
The two day National Agriculture Summit whose theme is: Building partnerships for the transformation , growth and competitiveness of the agriculture sector in Kenya, brings together key players from government, farmer organizations, private sector and development partners to spike agricultural growth and make it more sustainable.
The highlight of the first day was the launch of the national Agriculture Sector Network that draws its membership from government, the private sector and development bodies. The mandate of the secretariat will be to provide a unified approach to tackling some of the challenges the sector faces while exploring the scope for scaling up sustainable innovations to make an impact on a larger scale.