A women group in Kwale County has a lot to smile about after their first consignment of seaweed was loaded for export earning them a whooping Ksh. 2 million.
The 100-ton consignment that was loaded at the Kibuyuni Seaweed yard in Kibuyuni Village, Lungalunga sub-county marked a turning point for the group which will be exporting 30-60 tons of the produce monthly to European countries like France, Belgium, USA and other oversees markets.
Speaking during the flag off ceremony, Acting Tourism and Trade County Executive Committee Member Mr Ramadhan Bungale said Kwale County Government under the stewardship of Governor Salim Mvurya and his Deputy Ms Fatuma Achani has invested heavily in supporting the women groups and was proud to see one succeed.
“Kwale County Government built a huge storage facility for the women group, trained the members on seaweed best farming practices, developed the access road here and helped find market which was the biggest problem,” said CEC Bungale.
He further added that plans are underway to build a seaweed processing factory in Kibuyuni to enable value addition and boost income for the locals.
The ceremony was witnessed by other senior county officials and partners including Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KEMFRI), C-Weed Company and women members of the Kibuyuni Seaweed Farmers group.
The chairlady of the group Ms Fatuma Mohammed, Kemfri Researcher Mr Allex Kimathi, FAO representative Mr Tito Arunga, C-Weed Company Ltd officer Mr Ezra Mereng all pledged to work closely with the Kwale county government to boost the Kibuyuni women incomes.
“I want to assure the group members and our partners that the County is fully committed to helping this group. We know jobs will be created for our people apart from empowering our women economically,” said the CEC.
The target is to export 100 tonnes of seaweed from the coast counties of Kwale, Lamu, Tana River, Kilifi and Mombasa annually in line with the Blue Economy agenda and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda.