“The government’s position is that KMFRI is key in the implementation of the Big Four Agenda,” remarked KMFRI Board Chairman Hon John Safari Mumba. He said the outcome of the Big Four Agenda, aquatic system and food nutrition should therefore be at the heart of the institute.
He encouraged KMFRI to explore possibilities of expanding mariculture research, and urged researchers to pilot more programmes in the trade to demonstrate to the public the enormous opportunities in marine fisheries. Hon Mumba said mariculture and aquaculture are key in food provision. Achievement of food security is part of KMFRI’s mission. 40% of Kenya is available for fish production.
Some of the mariculture research activities being undertaken at KMFRI include Culture of Marine Tilapia in ponds in Kibokoni, artemia production, milkfish and mud-crab farming as well as seaweed farming.
“Research information should be available to stakeholders,” he added.
KMFRI Director/CEO Prof James Njiru echoed his sentiments, adding that KMFRI is an important hub in harnessing the Blue Economy through research. Hon Mumba was the first Provincial Director of Fisheries in the Coast region. During this tenure, he initiated the development of the first Marine Prawn Farming Project in Africa at Ngomeni near Malindi through World Bank funding, and oversaw the establishment of the Kenya Fishing Industries Ltd which focused on deep-sea fishing.
He said his desire is to see KMFRI being quoted on mariculture and aquaculture, among other research activities captured in the institute’s mandate. Hon Mumba said he would want to see more work on prawn farming and urged scientists to conduct research in this sector.
Prawn farming is an aquaculture business aimed at raising and producing freshwater prawns or shrimps for human consumption. Aquaculture prawn farming began in the 1980's with most farms being located on flat land adjacent to sea water sources, such as tidal rivers or creeks.
Plans are underway to develop a marine hatchery at the National Mariculture Research & Training Centre in Shimoni, Kwale County. Completion of the hatchery will be a major boost to mariculture research.
KMFRI is globally recognised for her mangrove conservation efforts and the positive impact the programme through Mikoko Pamoja Group has had on the community. Members raise revenues from the sale of carbon credits and use income to support local development projects in water sanitation, education and environmental conservation.
The Chairman visited Gazi sub-station where he interacted with the community. “Gazi might be a game-changer. It should be replicated.”
The Chairman was speaking during KMFRI’s Performance Contracting (PC) mock evaluation exercise for the first and second quarter of the financial year 2018-19 conducted on 7th February, 2019, at the institute’s Mombasa headquarters.
Those in attendance included Deputy Director Finance and Administration Mr Abraham Kagwima, Deputy Director Ocean and Coastal Systems Dr James Mwaluma, PC Secretariat head Dr Jacob Ochiewo, KMFRI inland stations coordinators, divisional and departmental heads.
Hon Mumba signed the PC document in October 2018. “I did not participate in development of the targets. I took a leap of faith,” he said, adding that KMFRI has a huge responsibility to hit set targets.
The Chairman further warned KMFRI staff against engaging in corruption saying that it won’t be business as usual. “We won’t bend to pressures of corruption. People should stop shortcuts. Seasons of shortcuts are over,” he said.
Hon Mumba urged managers to support Prof Njiru to enable him achieve organisational objectives. KMFRI Director Prof Njiru echoed the Chairman’s sentiments, adding that managers should be efficient to deliver desired results.