Marsabit Governor Mohamud Ali has launched the construction of a Sh200 million fish processing plant in Loiyangalani to boost economic development.
The flagship project is anticipated to improve fish production through improved capacity building, quality control, research and management.
The European Union contributed Sh70 million for construction of cold rooms and purchase of security motorboats. It is set to release another Sh40 million for purchasing of fishing gear.
Governor Ali said the factory, which will be at the shores of Lake Turkana, will boost food security and market for over 61,150 tons of fish produced monthly.
"We will also allocate funds for improving Loiyangalani Airstrip and Loiyangalani-Laisamis road. We are also engaging the Kenya Marine Authority to help us buy a ferry for eased transportation between Turkana and Marsabit counties," he said. The project will take one and a half years.
Meanwhile, Loiyangalani residents have cited poor management as one of the blights afflicting the industry. For example, they complained of funds embezzlement, inadequate fishing facilities and insecurity around Loiyangalani Beach.
Fishmongers Martha Ochieng and Elizabeth Atieno said they suffer losses due to high cost of transporting the product to Kisumu.
"We suffer post-harvest losses due to lack of transport, storage, hygiene and other vital facilities. The bulk of fish in Lake Turkana is dried, fried, smoked or salted and sold in Kisumu and Congo," Ms Ochieng said.
Though there are 12 species commercially exploited in Lake Turkana, Tilapia is preferred both locally and internationally.
Mr Mike Eman told Nation that pirates rob fishermen of their boats when they sail to other beaches like Moite, Illeret and Sibiloi.
Loiyangalani MCA Mark Ekale said residents also need electricity.