This project will focus on the following problems attributed to Lake Victoria Fish Value Chain:
Irregular supply of electricity for Nile Perch processing plants: Despite the initial high capital outlay and high operating costs, industrial filleting is still one of the most attractive Nile perch processing options in the country today.
As a result, Nile perch filleting plants mushroomed and a few years ago, there were 17 industrial fish processing companies in Kenya all of which were export oriented, mainly to European and non-European markets.
However, inadequate and irregular supply of electricity has forced these factories to deploy diesel generators, which apart from contributing towards Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, are expensive to run and therefore reduces the profitability of these fish processing factories.
High consumption of firewood for fish frying:
Today, the bulk of locally consumed fish (particularly Tilapia) is fried. Women are involved is local fish processing at the beaches, mainly frying. Frying is done mainly on low efficient firewood stoves.
Firewood-based cooking kilns: The high demand for firewood put pressure on trees what leads to deforestation in the regions around Lake Victoria.
Inadequate cold storage: Inadequate cold storage services is one of the main inefficiencies in the region’s lake capture fisheries value chains. There are about 321 fish landing sites on Lake Victoria, in the Kenyan side. However, only eight sites, which benefited from the European funded program, have cold storage. Unfortunately, most of these cold storage facilities are not operational. As a result, fishermen lose up to 40% of their catches.
In the all the five counties, the demand for ice is estimated at 310 metric tonnes per day against production capacity of 107 metric tonnes per day. There is need to revive the collapsed EU projects and to support addition establishment of small-scale cold facilities as well as small scale of ice by SMEs to support aquaculture and cage fishing in the region.
Inadequate management of fish waste and other organic waste: Industrial fish processing generates large quantities of wastes with high organic contents. The wastes include viscera, skin, frames, chips, fins, fat solids, rejects. The solid fish wastes make up to 30-40% of the total production.
There are three challenges faced by the industry in waste management. First is inadequate treatment of wastewater. A survey undertaken in 2009 indicated that out of 31 fish processing industries in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda around Lake Victoria, 75% attempted to treat or utilize their solid wastes.
However, the wastewater disposal methods used include undersized stabilization ponds and direct discharge of either raw or semi processed water into the lake. Secondly, the methods used for disposing the solid waste included dumping on the ground or burying under the ground, which is not environmentally sustainable.
Finally, the fish waste utilization methods include local sale of solid fish residues such as frames, used as food for the local community. However, the income from the residues is lower than handling costs. There is need to employ modern waste management options, such as leather production, fish maw processing and biogas digestion.
Untreated wastewater fed into the lake: There are a number of different reasons why the lake’s ecosystem and therefore the livelihood of the people living around it have come under pressure. The water quality has deteriorated steadily over the last few years, partly because the urban infrastructures have not been able to keep pace with the rapid population growth. Establishing adequate wastewater disposal systems in particular represents a huge challenge, which is why large amounts of wastewater are still being fed into the lake untreated.
No access to clean drinking water: Many of the people have no access to clean water or improved sanitation facilities, resulting in high incidences of water-related diseases such as malaria, bilharzia, and cholera.
High post-harvest losses to small fish: An approximated 30% of total Omena (Rastrineobola argentea), Omena landings are used for human consumption. This is equivalent to 18,000 metric tonnes of Omena per year. This is marketed through various informal channels. The primary processing of Omena by sun-drying is done entirely by women at the beaches as its shelve life can only be extended when the product is well dried and stored. The sun drying of Omena is carried out at the fish landing beaches; the fish is spread over-fishing nets and left to dry for 6 to 8 hrs. During the drying process the fish is exposed to contamination from soil, animals and personnel processing fish, this leads to post harvest losses and lowers the quality as well as income.
Inadequate management of organic market wastes: All the beaches have small markets which apart from fish other products are sold, generating substantial organic wastes, which creates disposal challenges. Some of these can be used as inputs to the biogas digestion.
Use of kerosene for fishing: In the lake region fishing of Omena (small fish) is done at night, using Kerosene powered lantern to attract the fish, which is not environmentally sustainable.