Kenya has shipped its first large-scale batch of 52 tonnes of omena (Silver Cyprinid) to Changsha Huanghua International Airport in China’s Hunan Province.
According to Wu Peng, Director-General at China’s Department of African Affairs, the East Asian country is set to begin importing the freshwater fish from Kenya.
This is part of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Green Channel (FOCAC) for African agricultural exports to China and is meant to bring tangible benefits to African and Chinese peoples.
Kenya exported its trial consignment of 315 kg of dried wild anchovy in June of this year.
“Kenyan dried anchovy is a new African product that Changsha Customs has participated in promoting to import. It will help promote the import of high-quality African foods and agricultural products, enriching the choices of Chinese consumers, and boosting the trade between China and Africa,” said Huang Caixin, director of the export and import food safety department at Changsha Customs.
The importer, Hunan-based snack company Jinzai Food Group, explained that the fish would be made into snacks.
From its Kwale factory, the company dries and packages the anchovies before export.
Chinese fish imporrts
This development comes at a time when dwindling local fish stocks have left Kenya highly reliant on Chinese fish. Importers have turned to cheaper Chinese imports which are valued at over Sh2 billion. This represents more than 80 per cent of the total Kenyan fish import market share.
This has led to calls for the introduction of a 20 per cent excise duty on imported fish to safeguard local fishers.