Gov’t plans to start fish pond farming at Ogande Girls

By Fredrick Odiero

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Mr. Francis Owino announced that the government plans to start pond fish farming at Ogande Girls High school in Homa Bay County.

Speaking in Ogande Girls during the issuing of equipment worth millions of shillings, Owino said the move is vital since it will enhance food security and encourage agricultural skills among students.

Owino added that pond fish farming is vital since fish farming is a major activity within the lake region.

“The government has already rolled out the Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP). It has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with six counties in a move to increase fish production in the country,” he added.

The ABDP is under the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Nyeri, Meru, Kirinyaga, Kakamega, Homa Bay and Migori were chosen to pilot the project which is expected to be rolled out in 15 counties.

He added that the programme’s objective is to increase the income, food security and nutritional status of the communities involved in aquaculture.

‘The programme consists of two components. The first component will promote viable business activities based on aquaculture through group and enterprise mobilization, training and support, investment in productive infrastructure and the transfer of technical and business skills. It will also involve promoting climate smart technologies and practices and environmentally sustainable forms of production,’ Owino said.

The PS noted that the second component seeks to improve the efficiency of the whole aquaculture value chain, with a concentration of Programme effort and resources on operations that either include smallholders directly or demonstrably benefit the mass of small-scale producers.

He added that the concept includes strengthening the policy and regulatory framework, public infrastructure, extension capacity, priority research, quality assurance services, fish health and surveillance services and access to financial services.

He said the proposed approach blends public and private sector investments in the aquaculture value chain with whole-community initiatives to promote good nutrition and food security.

Owino said the Programme will have a County Programme Implementation Team (CPIT) that will be established within each County Fisheries Directorate.

 ‘The team will be responsible for mobilization and awareness creation about the programme, monitoring and technical backstopping and extension and advisory services. It will work directly with programme beneficiaries and will report to the County CEC in charge of fisheries, ‘ he said.

Dr. Ida Odinga, who presided over the presentation of the equipment said the tools will enable the school kick start its operations to support education and ICT support programmes for students.

Other leaders present were Principal Secretaries Dr. Julius Jwan (Early Learning and Basic Education) and Jerome Ochieng’ (ICT) Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma and his Rangwe counterpart Lilian Gogo.

The  Shs 300 million library, research and innovation centre whose construction started in August last year through a collaboration between Ida Odinga Trust and the national government ,will have an ICT hub, a 1000 seater auditorium, a recording studio, a library and other research facilities to support education.

The project is expected to be completed mid next year and will bring together students from different schools across the country.

She donated 300 new pairs of lockers and chairs for students at the school.

The ministry of ICT gave the school 30 laptops to enhance knowledge on ICT and innovation in the centre.

Ochieng’ said the government has made plans to install fiber optic cables at the centre and the school for fast speed internet and for online libraries.

The internet will provide students in universities with relevant skills on emerging job markets by equipping learners with ICT skills which will make them relevant in job hunting.

The PS told students to take advantage of emerging jobs markets which he said require basic ICT training and that the innovation centre at Ogande will become a center of excellence to provide the platform to support ICT and online jobs.

Dr. Jwan said the government is committed to ensuring there is 100 per cent transition.

Mr. Kaluma and Dr. Gogo saying the projects will transform lives of children in future.

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