Wednesday, November, 4 2015
Nakuru County Governor Kinuthia Mbugua has announced plans to allow Chinese investors to establish a crayfish processing factory in Naivasha valued at over KSh. 900 million.
According to Governor Mbugua, the factory will be used solely to process and package crayfish for export and, in turn, the investment is supposed to create jobs for thousands of unemployed youths in the town.
“They (Chinese) told me that they want to process crayfish for export. We Kenyans are not fond of crayfish, so I told them that they could farm crayfish, harvest and export so long as their investment will create jobs for our people,” he said, to which the crowd laughed and cheered.
The governor made the announcement during a ceremony to commission four patrol boats donated by the county government to guard against illegal fishing in Lake Naivasha at Karagita beach on November 4, 2015.
The investors are keen to start operations and were on hand to distribute 40 specialized crayfish fishing nets with each of the four Beach Management Units – Central, Kamere, Karagita and Tarambete – getting 10 nets each.
Even as this was going on, however, disquiet was raised from certain quarters regarding the manner in which the Chinese were going about their proposed business, specifically whether due process was being followed.
Imarisha Naivasha Chief Executive Officer, Kamau Mbogo, expressed dismay that even as the Chinese seemed to be in top gear to launch their operations, they had managed to overlook certain important aspects such as an environmental impact assessment.
“The investors have not done and environmental impact assessment to evaluate the impact of mass introduction of crayfish into the lake. Has a feasibility study been conducted to establish the viability of the investment and the ecological risk involved?” he posed.
Silas Wanjala, an environmental researcher working in Lake Naivasha, reiterated that more research was needed to ascertain the viability of mass introduction of crayfish.
“Research has shown that crayfish feed on vital plant life that inhabits the floor of the lake. If crayfish population rises drastically, then this plant life will be decimated irredeemably,” he said.
As things stand, however, it is all systems go for the investors after the governor gave the project a clean bill of health, noting that they would build schools and hospitals for the local population as part of their corporate social responsibility efforts.
Whether or not the disquiet emanating from the scientific community regarding the project will be taken into consideration remains to be seen.