NAIROBI, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Fish imported from China for the Kenyan market is safe and fit for consumption, a senior official said on Wednesday.
Japhet Ntiba, the Principal Secretary for Fisheries and Blue Economy, said fish imported from China had been certified for consumption by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.
"We are forced to allow Kenyan importers to bring in the country additional tons of fish to meet the local annual per capita demand," Ntiba told journalists in Nairobi.
He said the Kenyan market required one million metric tons of fish per year but only 200,000 metric tons were produced domestically, leaving a gap of 800,000 metric tons.
Ntiba revealed that besides China, Kenya was also currently importing fish from Uganda, Tanzania and India.
"Kenya has imported 2,300 metric tons of fish this year due to the China's high standards and safety of their fish," he said.
Due to the dwindling stoke of fish in the country, Ntiba revealed that the government had plans to start investing in the Indian Ocean and other lakes besides Lake Victoria to help meet the local demand and also export.
"We have also started cage farming in Lake Victoria and seaweed commercialization at the coast region for export and also as an alternative to the use of plastic," he said.
Ntiba blamed low production of fish on climate change, overfishing and lack of monitoring by county governments.
His remarks came after Kenyan lawmakers expressed concern over the safety of tilapia imports from China.
The imported tilapia is packaged, frozen and imported to Kenya by a Chinese company with the East African Sea Food Limited being its local agent, local reports say. Enditem