Fish prices skyrocket in Kisumu as Chinese imports flood the market

Fish prices skyrocket in Kisumu as Chinese imports flood the market

Kisumu is famous for its culinary fish dishes which have overtime proven synonymous to the lakeside town.

However, over the years, complaints of overpricing have rocked the city, forcing locals to resort to cheap imported fish. Kenya currently has an annual fish demand of 500,000 tonnes.

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Occasioned by climate change and overall poor fishing methods, the country produces 135,100 tonnes, resorting to importation to bridge the deficit.

In 2018, the fish imports from China hit Ksh.1.7 billion, the imported fish, cheaper than locally sourced fish.

A ten kilogram carton of imported China fish goes for Ksh.1,800 while a ten kilogram carton of locally sourced fish retails at Ksh.3500.

“We cannot lower our prices, people love our fish since its fresh. The imported one has been kept in the ice and it cannot measure up to ours,” said Grace Ongowe, a fish vendor.

Grace who has been a fish vendor for 4 years now says she prefers to purchase directly from the fishermen and after deep frying, she decides how much she will retail her fish for.

Philip Mutimba, a resident of Nairobi, told Citizen Digital how he chose to spend his Easter holiday in Kisumu for fish despite the inflated prices next to the lake.

“Anything cheap is always expensive, if I need fresh fish, something that is palatable, something that is sweet I would rather pay a higher price than Nairobi but get the real value out of it,” said Mutimba.

And just like everywhere else, the law of demand and supply must prevail.

“The prices of fish continue to sky rocket because the demand s higher than the supply,” said Maureen Akinyi, another fish vendor.

Though the State Department of Fisheries has regulations on where and how to fish, negligence and ignorance are the main reasons for the sky rocketing prices of fish next to the lake.

Consumers will now have to dig deeper in to their pockets if they are to enjoy the native culinary fish right next to its natural habitat.

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Story By Laura Otieno
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