Yesterday CS, Mwangi Kiunjuri Flanked by the Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyongo and PS Fisheries Prof Micheni Ntiba, officially opened the Nyanza Region Blue Economy Conference at Kisumu.
He said the ministry is working towards reviving fisheries in the lake region so as to raise the production target to 200,000 metric tonnes by 2022. He added that the process of rehabilitating 6 fish landing sites in Busia, Siaya, Kisumu, and Homabay is ongoing, and will greatly improve fish production, reduce post-harvest losses, enhance incomes and improve livelihoods.
He urged different players to partner with the Agric sector in curbing the challenges affecting the Fisheries sector, leading to its decline by 64% in the last 5 years.
Blue economy is the sustainable use of oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, wetlands, as well as other water-based resources. These water bodies cover more than two-thirds of our planet and can be used to drive economic development.
Water resources also provide food, nutrition, and livelihoods to hundreds of millions of the world’s populations and have the additional intangible benefits of moderating the planet’s climate.
In November 2018, Kenya hosted an international conference on a Sustainable Blue Economy, the conference reached the conclusion that a sustainable blue economy promotes economic growth, responsible production, and consumption, social inclusion and improves livelihoods.
Through the Nairobi Statement of Intent, the participants agreed on the need to have action-oriented strategies that place people and blue economy resources at the center of sustainable development.
The Nyanza Blue Economy Conference will therefore provide an opportunity for the national government, bilateral and multilateral donors and the private sector actors to make specific commitments on promoting the blue economy in a sustainable manner. In essence, this will be an action-oriented follow-up mini-blue economy conference to concretize the ideas floated during the SBEC.
The themes for the conference are based on two documents from the memorandum submitted to the President by the Lake region elected leaders. This memorandum had four focus areas;
- Blue Economy related infrastructure.
- Environmental protection and conservation.
- Sustainable food and nutrition security.
- Lake safety, security and conflict resolution.
The lake region faces a number of development challenges that include but not limited to; extreme poverty, urban and rural infrastructure dilapidation, rapid urbanization, youth and women unemployment, dwindling economic opportunities, insecurity, environmental degradation including the water hyacinth, etc.
To help alleviate these problems, the conference will propose a regional development approach as a viable way of tackling the development challenges. This is pegged on four reasons;
- Through the Nyanza Blue Economy Conference, a regional approach has a high potential of attracting intensified investments.
- A regional approach affords the lake region a unique opportunity to make a follow-up on some of the commitments the national government made during the Global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference (SBEC) in Nairobi last year.
- A regional approach will give the region a head-start in soliciting support from development partners based on specific commitments for Kenya that they undertook during the SBEC.
- A regional commitment to the conservation of the lake resources and sustainable actions required to reverse the negative anthropogenic factors currently threatening the Lakes ecosystem and resources.
The conference is hosting about 500 participants majority of whom are drawn from the national government, county governments, bilateral and multilateral donors and the private sector actors