The government plans to establish a fertilizer factory utilizing water hyacinth as raw materials to end the weed menace on Lake Victoria and surrounding areas.
Culture and Arts Principal Secretary Joe Okudo said this will control the spread of the weed while at the same time generate wealth for the local communities. He said the government had embarked on feasibility studies aimed at establishing other possible beneficial uses of hyacinth and to identify the best location for the factory.
The PS made the remarks when he paid a courtesy call on Homabay County Commissioner Kassim Farrah before he officially opened a consultative forum for the Third Medium Term Plan 2018- 2022 for the county. “The State understands the negative impact of the weed, but the solution lies in making good use of it rather than eliminating it,” Okudo said.
The PS said the fertilizer factory will be established as a joint venture between the national government and county governments around Lake Victoria. He said manual removal of the weed from the Lake is not a long term solution noting that the gestation period of a water hyacinth seed is 8 to 15 years hence the weed will keep germinating.
“Thriving of the water hyacinth in Lake Victoria is accelerated by pollution and inorganic fertilizers swept from farms in the lake basin hence it is difficulty in eradicating it completely,” he added.
Mr Okudo said the industry will enhance creation of employment for many youths in the counties. “Homa Bay government wants to create an enabling environment to help our youths earn a living. Establishing such industry will open fishing grounds and transport sector for the benefits of our people,” Okudo said.
In 2014, Homa Bay government brought a machine for manual removal of the weed but the effort was unsuccessful. “We’re committed to co-operating with development partners to do away with adverse effects of the weed,” Okudo said.