By George Munene
The Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) has partnered with Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) and universities to develop and refine 13 new products in the fish value chain and train farmers on how they can add value to their fish to enable them to earn more. This will also address the problem of waste in the aquaculture value chain.
The products include fish fillet, fish sausages, fish samosas, fish fingers, minced fish, smoked fish and fish gel. They are meant to benefit farmers from Siaya, Busia, Kakamega, Lamu and Marsabit counties.
The products and training of farmers as well as county fisheries officer will be rolled out through the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP) and be implemented by KMFRI and the (KALRO).
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At a training day for fisheries officers in Busia County, KMFRI Sagana center director Domitila Kyule said they had developed these new products to promote fish farming as an income-generating venture. Trainees will also be taught how to package the value-added products.
“Through value addition, farmers can earn so much more than they traditionally have selling fish raw, there is very little of the fish that has to be thrown away.” Kyule said.
She added that the research body is working with farmers to replace traditional kilns used to smoke fish with modern kilns that produce less smoke. This she said will improve the quality of the preserved fish and help Kenyan fish farmers sell their products in the international market.
KMFRI Kisumu center director Kelvin Obiero, said, “Kenya currently has a fish deficit of 500,000 metric tonnes. This has necessitated imports from China to bridge this gap.”
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With fish production from capture fisheries having plateaued, he said, the only way for the country to be domestically fish sufficient will be through aquaculture.
KMFRI he added, is currently working with Maseno University, Egerton University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and University of Eldoret to develop new technologies to help farmers engaged in caged fish farming.
Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP): 254-020-2715466
Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI): 0712003853
Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO): +254 722206986/722206988