Fishing community in Lake Victoria region will soon have a reason to smile following plans to establish a fish processing industry in Homa Bay county.
This came after the National Government consented that it is will assist Homa Bay County Government construct the factory. The Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Willy Bett has expressed his willingness to have the plant constructed in the county.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call to area Governor Cyprian Awiti and his Deputy Hamilton Orata in the county headquarters yesterday, Bett said the date of commencing construction of the industry will be known in two weeks’ time.
“I am going to send my principal Secretary to this county after two weeks to discuss the way forward for constructing this industry besides other developmental matters of this county. We have to do this because our main purpose is to serve Kenyans,” said Bett.
Bett stressed that his Ministry was ready to help the county undertake a number of agriculture related projects as long it prioritizes its programmes well.
“Homa Bay county owns 80 per cent of Lake Victoria and hence creation of a fish processing industry will promote inland fishing as well fish farming along Lake Victoria region,” Bett added.
Governor Awiti said they had carried out a feasibility study and identified a piece of land where the industry will be constructed.
“The most important stage of identifying land where the project will be undertaken, is complete. This industry is our priority number one that we will always be committed to ensure it is achieved,” said Awiti.
He decried lack of a fish processing industry in the area saying it had contributed to poverty among the fishing community since they were only forced to rely on the middlemen in selling their fish.
“Mr Cabinet Secretary, I want the National Government to understand that fish is the chief source of livelihood for many people just as coffee is important other parts of Kenya. Kindly come to our aid,” the Governor requested.
Deputy Governor Orata said creation of the industry will enable the county achieve a great economic growth.
“It is very unfortunate that 80 per cent of fish obtained from Lake Victoria comes from Homa Bay county yet the processing takes place in other counties. Creation of the plant will enhance value addition to our fish hence enabling the fishermen to sell their product at reasonable prices,” said Orata.
The Cabinet Secretary also said he will help the county undertake upgrading of livestock breeds through cross breeding to reduce the number of exotic breeds in the county.
“It is important to introduce breeds of cattle which can earn the locals income,” Bett said