Over 800 fishermen in Homa Bay County have stopped fishing to protest at low prices offered by merchants and middlemen.
The fishermen operating at all beaches in the county held a demonstration in Mbita town to protest at what they termed reduction of fish prices by manufacturing companies.
They said prices have dropped over the last one month with a kilo of fish going for Sh80, from Sh350.
Led by Homa Bay County Beach Management Unit chairman Edward Oremo and area Nile Perch Traders Network Abisalom Odira, the fishermen accused manufacturing companies of disregarding them by lowering prices.
“We appealed to the companies several times to hike the prices but they have not heeded our pleas. There is no business where buyers can sit on their own to decide prices they want without consulting sellers. We have now opted to hold the demonstration to enable our voices to be heard,” Oremo said on Tuesday.
The fishermen vowed not to fish until the Government holds a consultative meeting with them to address their grievances.
They accused the Government of allowing the companies to import fish from neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania, a situation that culminated in reduction of fish prices.
“It is sad that the Government has declined to cushion us from unscrupulous importation of fish, which now makes buyers feel that they can control prices,” Odira commented.
The fishermen said the fish bought at Sh80 is sold at over Sh1,800.
“The cost of living has escalated and we are forced to purchase fishing equipment at very high prices yet prices of our products keep going down,” said Samwel Osewe, chairman of the Homa Bay County Lobby and Advocacy Committee.
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