By Evans Kidero via FB
President Kenyatta will be in Nyanza for five days hosted by the people of this region under the leadership of the Prime Minister Jakom Raila Odinga
My hope is that as local leaders, we shall seize this opportunity and present a robust economic agenda that will holistically address the myriad challenges that our people are facing .
The following issues should be addressed in order to catapult the recovery of the Lake Region economy;
No conversation of economic nature can begin without our biggest resource – Lake Victoria. With the nerve of the lake’s inland water transport, Kisumu Port already revitalized, we need to push for the water connectivity of Kisumu to Kendu Bay, Kajimo, Homa Bay, Mbita, Mfangano, Sindo, Nyandiwa, Sori and others. The 6 jetties in Homa Bay should be rehabilitated and the 141 landing beaches developed.
Homa Bay alone contributes to over 50% of fish from Lake Victoria with about 100,000 MT of fish per year. This is a clear indication that fishing is the backbone of the county’s economy. Accordingly, we need value addition projects and fish processing industries in the region to increase productivity. For instance, Mbita Causeway should be deepened from the current 2m to 12 metres depth to improve the ecosystem of the Kavirondo Gulf side of Lake Victoria in order to increase fish availability.
KEMFRI has evaluated Lake Victoria’s fisheries potential at Ksh 40 billion per year against an actual collection of Ksh 12 billion. Out of this , fish from Homa Bay County alone earns our country about 7 billion shillings a year.
The construction of the Lake Victoria Ring road all the way from Bumala in Busia, through Siaya, Kisumu, to Kendu Bay, Homa Hills, Homa Bay, Mbita, and making a flexuous stretch to Sindo, Sori and Muhuru Bay should also be prioritized. This investment will supplement the waterways and propel the Inland triangular trade with Uganda and Tanzania.
Another urgent issue for the region is energy. Constant blackouts and unstable electric power have for a long time scared investors from the lake region. Electricity should be stabilized through construction of more sub-stations and fully exploiting our solar and geothermal potentials.
The government should as well complete the Sh 6 billion Kimira-Oluch Small Farm Improvement Project (KOSFIP), an irrigation project for Karachuonyo and Rangwe Sub Counties as one of the efforts to increase food security and reduce our over-reliance on food imports.
With stable electricity and diversified energy sources, improved water transport and the connectivity provided by the ring road, accelerated industrialization, the Lake Region would witness an economic bloom that would kickstart our renaissance Homa Bay agenda.
As Nyanza leaders, we are solidly behind the BBI for it’s political and economic equity which will greatly benefit our region and enhance a peaceful,stable and prosperous Kenya.
Let us give our president a warm welcome as we jointly have sober engagements on reviving the Lake Region.
[Photo: Mbita Town]