Kisumu County Government on Wednesday, October 5, received a shot in the arm in its efforts to control the stubborn water hyacinth weed.
In a statement, Governor Anyang' Nyong'o revealed that the devolved unit had received a donation from the government of India to boosts the efforts.
Prof Nyong'o divulged that the Ksh40 million water hyacinth harvesting machine came after his first visit to India in 2018.
“Today, the innovators of the Ksh40 million water the hyacinth harvesting machine donated to Kisumu County by the Indian Government called on me at my office. A donation that has come following my visit to India in the year 2018,” Nyongo StatedKisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o posing for a photo with Indian donors on Wednesday, October 5, 2022
The governor stated that Godach Marashna and Vinod Kumar, were in the lake-side city to assemble the machine in preparation for its use in L. Victoria.
“The harvested Water hyacinth can then be used as organic fertiliser, furniture making and methane gas, thus creating jobs for our people to earn an income," he stated.
The machine has the capacity to harvest three tonnes of water hyacinth in ten minutes and will be used in Lake Victoria.
Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), is an aquatic plant that originated in native South America. Scientists all over the world have described it as the world’s “most stubborn aquatic weed” after it clogged dams and rivers.
The weed suffocating the lake has defied millions of shillings the Government and other stakeholders have spent on intervention measures in a bid to save the crucial water body.
Efforts to control the weed have been ongoing for long and have been costly and agonising. Hundreds of millions of shillings have been lost since 1997 as researchers seek the best method to weed out the hyacinth.
The government, with help from the World Bank, has been fighting the hyacinth for over 10 years, but there have been no tangible results. Recently, the government of Russia allocated close to a billion shillings to fight the water hyacinth.
In the early 90s, the government contracted an American firm, Aquarius Systems Co. Ltd, to mechanically uproot the weed. The company was paid Ksh100 million but secretly left the after failing to get rid of the hyacinth.
In 1997, the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) came up with a biological method of dealing with the hyacinth, where beetles would be unleashed into the lake to eat and destroy the hyacinth.
KARI imported adult weevils from Australia, Uganda and South Africa for mass rearing. Over Ksh4.2 million weevils were released into the lake. However, the weevils stopped eating the hyacinth and instead invaded nearby farms and started destroying crops.
Today, the hyacinth covers a huge part of the lake, which has the biggest population of Tilapia and Nile Perch fish species pushing many fishermen out of business.Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o posing for a photo with Indian donors and other County officials on Wednesday, October 5, 2022fight
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