MOMBASA, Kenya, Sept 1 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged Coastal counties to expand fishing in the India Ocean, saying it has the potential to create many jobs for the youth.
The President said the counties should work closely with the national Government to help fishermen get bigger boats and other fishing equipment that will enable them fully exploit the marine resources.
He noted that with the current fish production of about 9,000 metric tonnes, the sector directly employs 14,000 fishermen from the coastal communities.
“Yet the potential fish production from Kenya’s Exclusive Economic Zone is estimated to lie between 150,000 metric tonnes to 300,000 metric tonnes,” President Kenyatta said.
He added: “This region sits by the immensely promising blue economy of the Indian Ocean. We are a long way from exploiting the potential of this treasure. This means that the opportunities to generate wealth for this region abound.”
The Head of State was speaking today when he officially opened this year’s Agricultural Society of Kenya Mombasa International Show.
President Kenyatta said security must be beefed up in the ocean to stop people of other nations from exhausting the marine resources at the expense of local fishermen.
“It is regrettable that our blue economy is not helping Kenyans. Instead it is benefitting fishermen of other countries because they have bigger fishing boats and modern fishing equipment,” President Kenyatta said.
In recognition of the tremendous capacity to transform the coastal economy and the lives of residents, President Kenyatta said he issued Executive Order No. 1 of 2016.
“My aim is to dedicate resources and technical capacity for Kenyans to obtain maximum benefits from the Blue Economy,” President Kenyatta said.
The President said the Government also seeks to promote large-scale public-private partnerships to boost agriculture’s contribution to the country’s economic growth.
He cited the livestock subsector as an important contributor to the Coast region’s development and to the overall national economy.
“In 2015, the Coast region had an estimated 1.2 million head of beef cattle, 100,000 dairy cows and over 420,000 sheep. It also had 1.4 million goats and nearly 3 million chicken,” he said.
To improve the livestock subsector, the President said the Government will continue to implement disease surveillance and control programmes in collaboration with the counties as part of its campaign to eradicate livestock diseases in the country.
He urged county governments to strengthen the dissemination of new and appropriate technologies to their residents.
“We must make these opportunities readily accessible to the people,” he said.
Saying agriculture is a devolved function, the President stressed that county governments are indispensable partners in the national food security and agricultural productivity agenda.
Other speakers included Agriculture, Livestock Development and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Agricultural Society of Kenya National Chairperson Annabel Kiriinya.