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Fish farmers count their losses

06 May 2013, 20:04 Arap Yego

The ongoing heavy rains pounding various parts in Western Kenya, have left many fish farmers in Mt Elgon Constituency counting huge losses, after their ponds were flooded and fish carted away by the raging waters.

More than 10 fish ponds in Sirgoi and Kamwenjo villages in Kaptama, Mt. Elgon were flooded and swept away over the weekend as a result of the incessant heavy downpour.

Speaking to the press, after conducting an official assessment of the extent of the damage suffered by the farmers, Jamhuri Benson, a field officer at  the Mt. Elgon Fisheries Department, estimated that over 15,000 mature tilapia fish were swept away from the ponds by the floods.

"We assisted the farmers in the area with restocking their ponds with oreochromis niloticus (tilapia) species last August. The fish were already mature and farmers were preparing themselves to harvest," said Benson.
Dejected  fish farmers appealed to the government to assist them restock the ponds citing the high cost of sourcing the fingerlings.

“I was looking forward for a bountiful harvest after restocking my ponds in August, that is no more now. I urge well-wishers and the government through the fisheries department to assist us in restocking,” said Jael Waswa, a farmer who owns two ponds at Kamenjo village.

He expressed resolve of continuing with the profitable venture  adding that it was his source of livelihood.

The floods spoiled the party for the farmers many of whom were nursing expectations of a bountiful second harvest, and cashingin on their investment, since the government initiated the program in the constituency.

“I gained useful lessons from my first attempt at this business last year. I had prepared my pond and done everything in accordance with the technical advice from officials from fisheries department in taking care of my 2,000 fingerlings, this unfortunate turn of events has cut short my dreams of a handsome reward,” lamented Kipchumba Kiptoo.

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