Water contamination experts at Lake Victoria, Kenya_311.
(photo credit: Ann Marie Ran)
A team of Israeli and German experts will be working with Kenyan agricultural
and water professionals to upgrade the commercial fishery system and waste water
treatment mechanisms within the central African country’s Lake Victoria, the
Foreign Ministry told The Jerusalem Post this week.
The team made a
preliminary visit to Lake Victoria early this month, to assess the needs of the
region and strategize ways to better raise tilapia fish (also known as St.
Peter’s fish) and implement a more effective wastewater treatment system in the
lake, according to Ilan Fluss, director of policy planning and external
relations at MASHAV, the Foreign Ministry’s Agency for International Development
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and German Economic
Cooperation and Development Minister Dirk Niebel signed an agreement of consent
for the project in January – as part of an pact the countries had made two years
earlier to work together on projects in developing countries, according to the
Facilitated from the Israeli side by MASHAV, the Kenyan
project is important to reducing poverty conditions in the Lake Victoria area,
“Lake Victoria has regional influence – it’s very important
water-wise,” he added. “Lake Victoria is a small lake that is three times the
size of the State of Israel.”
Joining Fluss on the initial mission were
Israeli experts from the Agriculture Ministry and its Center for International
Agricultural Development Cooperation branch, as well as from the Mekorot
national water company.
Representatives from Germany’s GIZ aid agency as
well from as the German Embassy in Nairobi participated, and Kenyan fisherman
and industry professionals joined the group, according to the Foreign
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The German-Israeli team already has a collaboration under way
in Ethiopia, and signed an agreement last year to begin one in
While only 5 to 6 percent of Lake Victoria is in Kenyan territory,
due to its huge size, the lake remains a huge income source for Kenya, as well
as for its neighbors Uganda and Tanzania, Fluss said.
“It’s a major
source of income for about 5 million people [in Kenya],” he said.
Victoria does have pollution issues, but they are not yet irreversible,
according to Fluss.
There are some treatment facilities, but not enough,
and despite the huge lake much of Kenya suffers from an insufficient water
supply, he said.
“What we saw were there were a lot of water-contamination
sources into the lake – industrial and domestic waste-water,” Fluss said. “The
important thing was to come up with a proposal for planning for the area and to
create a feasibility study on improving the water quality in the daytime where
the big city Kisumu is, and to take a local approach that can become a pilot for
other municipalities around the lake.”
To this end, a group of Kenyan
mayors is in Israel this week visiting municipalities to identify strategies for
better city planning, Fluss added.
In Kenya’s lakeside fish industry, the
Israeli- German team will focus on how to increase the commercial growth of
tilapia in fish ponds near the lake. While there are tilapia in Lake Victoria,
they face fierce competition from the Nile Perch, which prey on the tilapia, he
“We have a lot of experience growing [tilapia] in fish ponds in
Israel,” he said. “We decided to look into the more economic production of the
tilapia – which helps solve issues of food security and is a source of income
because there’s an industry for tilapia, a market for tilapia.”
members are working on an action plan that will be presented in Kenya in about
two months and will lead to the full-fledged launch of the program as well as
some training programs for Kenyan professionals in Israel, Fluss
“What we hope is that by August we will really be able to kick off
this partnership,” he said.
While the relevant representatives from the
Kenyan and German delegations could not be reached for comment, Fluss said that
Israel clearly benefits from this partnership, and partaking in such an effort
is “creating a dialogue with the world” and “making Israel relevant in solving
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