Netherlands Embassy has announced plans to support programmes to unlock the economic potential of Lake Turkana.
The Dutch Ambassador to Kenya Maarten Brouwer said Turkana and Marsabit counties will receive 10 million pounds (approx. Sh1.52 billion) from the Embassy of Netherlands to exploit Lake Turkana which is shared by the two counties.
In a meeting with stakeholders including officials from the two counties, Ambassador Brouwer announced that his country will invest the Sh1.52 billion for five years.
The Embassy has committed to co-finance quick interventions as well as a long-term programmes for sustainable development of the value chain.
Ambassador Brouwer stated the need to set up food chains that are less vulnerable to climate shocks as the region deals with the effects of climate change.
“The fish sector has great potential to help build resilience in the immediate and long-term. We must see it as part of government strategy to build resilience in areas that are more vulnerable to climate change than others,” he said.
A study commissioned by the Embassy to study the economic potential of the fisheries sector in Lake Turkana revealed an existence of an enormous potential in the sector to contribute to food security.
The study recommended the establishment of cold chain logistics to allow for the trading of fresh fish and the inclusion of water resource management for sustainable fishing.
The stakeholders learnt that the private sector in Kenya and the Netherlands was ready to engage in solutions to challenges facing the sector.
Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai, in a speech delivered on his behalf by County Executive for Agriculture, Livestock Development and Fisheries David Erukudi, outlined plans by the county government, including developing a fish processing plant, cool chain facilities and equipment support for the fisherfolk.
“The fish processing plant will help reduce post-harvest losses and add value to fish and fish products, therefore increasing the market value of fish products and opening up new markets,” he said.
He called for support to carry out a fish stock assessment, establishment of solar-based cold chain facilities at fish landing points, and the development of aquaculture as an alternative source of livelihood.
Marsabit Governor Mohamud Ali said the study was important and the implementation of proposals will contribute to food security in Turkana and Marsabit.
He asked the State Department of Blue Economy to include Lake Turkana in national plans for the sector and revival of plans by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to establish ferry services between Marsabit.
Principal Secretary for Blue Economy and Fisheries Madam Betsy Muthoni Njagi Muthoni expressed the national government’s commitment to developing the blue economy.
“The blue economy is a frontier to contribute to the economic growth of Kenya and we are committed to working with CoG and the Dutch Embassy to achieve the objectives of this programme,” she said.
County Executive for Tourism, Culture, Natural Resources and Climate Change Iris Mariao expressed appreciation for the proposal to strengthen private sector involvement.
He asked for the introduction of programmes on complimentary livelihoods for the fisherfolk as the sector was facing challenges including climate change.