The national government plans to fast-track the manual removal of water hyacinth in Lake Victoria by recruiting 500 youths. The youths will be recruited by the Ministry of Devolution and Planning under the National Youth Service (NYS) Programme and will be joined by about 200 servicemen.
Youth Affairs Principal Secretary Lilian Omollo said the initiative would act as a pilot project to be used as an approach towards water hyacinth eradication.
“Water hyacinth is one of the largest environmental hazards affecting the lake region both economically and socially,” she said.
After the project is launched in Bondo, it will be expanded to cover the entire Lake Victoria region.
Ms Omollo said the NYS project in Kisumu that saw more than 5,000 youths recruited in Kisumu Central, had realised Sh8 million in terms of Sacco savings by members
“The largest NYS activity is in Kisumu Central, with 5,000 youths earning a daily wage of about KShs 231 and saving about KShs 141 each daily for the last one year,” she said.
She was speaking in Kisumu in the company of Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju, Sports, Culture and Arts Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario, his Principal Secretary Joe Okudo and Information, Communication and Technology CS Joe Mucheru.
Mr Tuju said they were on a fact-finding mission following concerns raised by President Uhuru Kenyatta about the effects of water hyacinth as local fishermen lost business to fish imports from China.
“Water hyacinth is the biggest environmental disaster. We are here to see how to deal with it and what can be done to increase dwindling fish stocks through fish cage and fish pond farming,” he said.
He said the Government was determined to find permanent solutions to the challenges facing the fishing and transport industries in the lake region.
By Maureen Odiwuor, Via Standard Media