Rising imports of fish from China, coupled by uncontrolled fishing, is negatively affecting local producers, say Kenyan fish farmers.
Kenya’s Daily Nation reports that imported Chinese fish are being sold at below the cost of production, stifling local fish farmers and traders.
“These imports are being sold directly at retailers at throwaway prices, depriving us of customers,” said Erick Odhimbo, one of the affected farmers.
According to him, tilapia from China is sold at Sh150/kg while the Kenyan variety goes for Sh400/kg. Nile perch, locally known as mbuta, fetches Sh320/kg. “We are even selling fish on credit just to reduce the stock because we have fewer buyers,” he said.
Kenya’s fisheries sector is a major employer in the country with at least 80 000 fishermen supports the livelihoods of about 2.3 million Kenyans.
The marginalisation of local producers is causing panic among stakeholders. The Kenya Fish Processors and Exporters Association says a number of fish processing factories have closed down due to increased competition from imports and the harvest of immature fish.