(ERGO) – Somali fishermen in the southern port town of Kismayu are celebrating the gains from the recent opening up of a new market for their fishing in Kenya, ending years of reliance on the limited local market.
Kah Commercial Fishing Company earlier this year was the first Somali firm to be granted a license to export fish to neighbouring Kenya. Kahis now exporting up to 50 tons of fresh fish to Kenya every week.
Mohamed Ali Hassan, a fisherman in Kismayu, hailed the expansion of the market available to them as a great opportunity.
“I go out fishing four times a week. I share the fishing boat with three others. Each trip, I catch fish weighing about 100kg. Initially, due to the lack of markets our catch used to go bad but now we suffer no losses as we can sell all our catch to this company,” Mohamed said.
Ahmed Muhumed Hassan, Kah’sdirector, told Radio Ergo they buy up to 20 tons of fish from the local fishermen like Mohamed every day. The company exported 35 tons of fish to Mombasa, Kenya, last month.
“We came up with the idea to export fish to Kenya to create more opportunities for ourselves and the fishermen. We pay between one and two dollars for fish from the fishermen,” said Hassan.
The company has contracted over 20 individuals to work in different departments including gutting and scaling fish, and in the refrigerated section where fish are processed and packaged into 1kg bags.
Mohamed Khalif Sheikh, the director of Jubbaland’s fisheries ministry, welcomed the development of the new export market saying the administration wanted to develop the fishing industry in an environmentally sustainable way.
Kah started to export in September. “Fish exports will soon be a booming business earning the country a lot in foreign exchange,” director Ahmed said.
Apart from Kenya, the company supplies fish to Somali towns far from the coastal areas including Dolow, Dobley, and Adado.