SIAYA Deputy Governor H.E. Dr. James Ouko Okumbe has today joined Lake Region Economic Bloc leaders at an Aquaculture Investment Concept Workshop in Kisumu and engaged in a comprehensive discussion of opportunities for the revival and sustainability strategies for the aquaculture industry within the 14 member regional bloc.
The meeting that was attended by the National Government’s Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperative Development Cabinet Secretary Hon. Peter Munya, several Western Region Agricultural Stakeholders and Lake Region Economic Bloc Secretariat led by the CEO Mr. Abala Wanga resolved to push for creation and strengthening of cooperative societies dealing with crops, fisheries value chains and promotion of soya beans growth in counties to meet the crashing demands (48,000 Metric Tonnes) for Unga group fish feeds company.
The two days conference also discussed on the need to establish Beach Management Units composed of women, capacity build and empower them with a view of strengthening their fishing bids.
Dr. Okumbe while addressing participants called on the regional and national legislators to amend laws on taxation on inputs and cages to ease the bid of investors to import raw materials from abroad as legal loopholes in this area has seen products especially fish feed prices inflated.
The Siaya Deputy Governor who represented the Siaya Governor in this event noted that high cost of fish feeds has discouraged aquaculture faming in western and Nyanza region, something that must be corrected to restore the region as a bastion of the trade.
“We want to call on the Senate and MPs to waive taxation and many bureaucracies that hampers efforts of the investors to import raw materials hence causing an increase in the prices of feeds,” said Okumbe.
Dr Okumbe was reacting to comments by Unga groups limited who called on farmers within the LREB to venture into production of soyas to feed the company with raw materials.
According to the company’s Business Development Manager Harison Juma, Unga Feeds require up to 4,000 Metric Tonnes monthly as raw materials for crashing but that cannot be sourced from the Country hence the resolution to import from Ukraine from time to time.
“For the LREB to succeed in reviving and sustaining its aquaculture farming it must source for quality fish feeds which are seen to be expensive as a result of its cost of production,” said Juma.
Juma said that it is the high production of soya beans from these regions that will help Unga company to bridge the shortage.
“We have in the past been sourcing raw materials from Ukraine and tax and regulations involved has seen us raise costs of feeds and that’s why we appeal to farmers to venture into Soya beans production to gain financially.
The LREB CEO Aballa Wanga asked farmers to opt for soya production to earn millions from Unga group. “This will enable farmers from LREB to earn billions yearly and at the same time help the company meet the ever growing demand of soya beans for crashing”, he said.
Okumbe also urged Counties to strengthen Co-operatives to ensure various value-chains of different crops thrives.
“As we advise our farmers to go embrace soya farming, lets support our cooperatives to revive their structures so as to consolidate the supply of soya beans and more from famers,” said Dr Okumbe.