Despite it being among the Arid and Semi Arid Lands, Isiolo County produces fish worth over Sh 20 million of which three million worth of fish is exported to Congo after being salted and sundried by experts from Busia.
Isiolo County Director of Fisheries Mr Felix Muthomi said fish farming has become a major economic activity in Isiolo County because the warm waters in the county enable the fish to grow quickly unlike in the cold counties of Meru and Nyeri where they take quite long.
“In the warm waters of Isiolo fish take 5-6 months to mature unlike in Meru where the fish take 8-10 months to mature because of the cold waters,” said Muthomi when KNA visited his office Tuesday.
The fisheries director further disclosed that there are over 140 fish farmers in the county who hail from Isiolo and Garba Tulla sub-counties with those from Merti sub-county mainly being fishermen who catch their fish from the Ewaso Nyiro River.
He said the fish farmers are members of women and youth groups especially Bakuke women group that has ten ponds. They are supported by Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and Non- governmental organizations who supply the farmers with pond liners to help hold the scarce water in the county.
“These farmers operate in different parts of the county but bring their produce to our station headquarters for marketing. We link them with markets in Meru and as far away as Nakuru,” said Muthomi.
He said the major fish species are tilapia and cat fish that are found in Ewaso Nyiro and Isiolo rivers while common carp species is mainly found in river Gambera existing in wild nature.
The county director said the former pastoralists from Burat Ward have embraced fish farming which is not vulnerable to theft like cattle, sheep and goats. He called on other Isiolo residents to take advantage of their warm waters to rear fish that is described by nutritionists as a major source of proteins.
By David Mutwiri
Source: Kenya News Agency