Loiyangalani Fish Cooperative rejuvenates to meet growing demand for fish

Women wash fish at the Lake Turkana fishing point in Loiyangalani. Photo:courtesy

Loiyangalani town is located on the eastern bank of Lake Turkana which occupies northwestern Kenya, with the biggest portion of the lake in Marsabit County. Residents here engaged in fishing for household meals but over time it is done for commercial purposes.

Also, many fisherfolk lacked proper storage facility depending on traditional ways of preserving fish including salting, smoking, and sun drying. However this resulted to fish depreciating its value by 70 percent.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in 2021 in conjuction with the Feed the Future Kenya Livestock Market Systems Activity, started supporting fisherfolk in the area, under the umbrella of Loiyangalani Fish Cooperative.

They engaged administration of Marsabit County and the community as well to revive the Loiyangalani Fish Cooperative, which had 60 active members at the time.

Fishers were provided with four 420-liter deep freezers and 40 cooler boxes to help in transporting fresh fish from the lake to the storage centre.

The storage center was installed installed with a solar-powered system. And, the the fisherfolk were trained on smart business practices among others including savings, recordkeeping, and cooperative management.

As a result the Loiyangalani Fish Cooperative audited its operations and held its first-ever Annual General Meeting.


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“The cooperative transformed the lake operations here. The members would aggregate their catch and market as a team bringing in more sales,” said one of the members.

In 2023, the membership of the cooperative had grown from 60 to 205.

Members started processing fish fillets and opened depots in Marsabit and Isiolo counties. They also penetrated into new markets, such as Busia, Meru, and Kisumu counties, and to export to Uganda.

In a month they realise 2,000 kilogrammes of fresh fish, selling 1,000 kilos as fillets and the rest as whole fish.

The USAID Activity is supporting the operations of 45 cooperatives in Northern Kenya to grow household incomes and boost the local economy.

The cooperatives are channels for marketing livestock and livestock products and as platforms for financial services and disseminating market information.

USAID and Activity also work closely with the partner county governments to create cooperative strategic plans and offer them tailored training in areas such as cooperative leadership and Islamic banking.

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