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Fishermen and rice farmers cry foul of CS Henry Rotich’s budget

A woman prepares her fish at Dunga beach in Kisumu County on March 30 2017. The rising population in the region has led to increase in demand of the delicacy which is also cheap compared to other species. Each is sold at sh. 10. PHOTO: COLLINS ODUOR

Fishermen and rice farmers in Nyanza region have accused the National Treasury of leaving them out of this year’s budgetary allocations.

Rice farmers in Ahero and West Kano said they were left out of Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich’s Sh6.3 billion to boost irrigation schemes across the country.

“I think the Cabinet Secretary was insensitive to rice farmers in Nyanza. The two schemes have been facing difficult times and ought to have benefited from the budget allocation,” said Daniel Ouya, a farmer.

Last month, the Ministry of Agriculture handed over farm equipment worth over Sh200 million to 1,370 rice farmers in Ahero and West Kano irrigation schemes, ending a two-year payment stalemate.

But residents said the schemes would need heavy financial support to enable them to boost rice irrigation.

The fishing community also protested that the Government did not allocate any money to the cleaning up of Lake Victoria, which has been invaded by water hyacinth.

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Lake transport

The weed has covered almost every beach in the lake’s Winam Gulf, disrupting fishing and transport on the lake.

They said the weed had rendered hundreds of people living around the lake jobless. These included fishermen, boat makers, car washers  and boat tour operators.

According to Jane Apondi, 35, the price of fish had more than doubled because of the weed.

“This is why our greatest expectation was to hear how the Government was planning to contain the weed,” she said.

A number of residents who practise fish caging were also a disappointed lot, saying they expected the Government to zero-rate duty on fish feeds.

Tom Mgama, an investor in fish caging in the lake, said he expected the Government to address duty on feeds to help improve fish farming in the area. 

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