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Cheap Tilapia From China Sold In Kisumu Bred on Feces and Laced With Chemicals



The cheap tilapia imported from China being sold in Kisumu

The cheap tilapia imported from China being sold in Kisumu

The news of cheap tilapia fish sold in Kisumu and environs has in the past days been the topic of debate. Being a delicacy of the lake community, a smart but rather conniving businessman saw the opportunity to import fish from China.

There has been a steady decline in fish supply in the region with fishermen citing a decrease in fish population in Lake Victoria. Fish population in Africa’s biggest freshwater lake has been the downfall in the recent times due to some reasons. With the supply being unable to meet the demand for fish, businessmen resorted to importing tilapia from China.

The most shocking part is the imported fish is way cheaper than the local ones. Tilapia, locally known as Ngege, goes at a market price of Ksh.300 while the Chinese tilapia is just a mere Sh.30, a 100% reduction in price. The fish is transported and kept frozen in boxes where they’re sold and distributed to different market zones. Local leaders have come out saying this is a sabotage of the local economy in which fishing is the primary economic pillar. But that’s not even the worst.

A fish farm in China

A fish farm in China

In a random research conducted by Kenya Insights, we’ve established that the cheap tilapia being sold to the locals come with dangerous repercussions with them. Most of the fish being sold are bred and fed on raw sewage as a way of cutting costs and contaminated with microbes like salmonella.

Fish farming is a thriving venture in China. However, there are set fish feeds that the government allows farmers to use, but most farmers do not adhere to this standards. In several disgusting videos we viewed on the internet of fish rearing, farmers opt for raw sewage to feed the fish claiming the government-recommended manure is too expensive.

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Demand for fish imports from China continues to go up worldwide with US alone consuming over 30% of seafood from China. Feeding the fish with faeces isn’t even half of it, the tilapia are frozen before package, and the ice used in this process is also made from sewage water according to a Bloomberg report in 2012.

Given the health risks posed to the farmers themselves, they’re adding chemicals like illegal and powerful pesticides and antibiotics to fight off and calm down stressed fish to the fish feed and water to counter bacterial and fungal infections.

A common anti-bacteria they use is nitrofuran which was banned in animal husbandry in China itself, USA, and Europe as lab tests proved that it caused cancer in rats.

A fishmonger sets up her merchandise at the famous fish retail market in Kisumu, Oile.

A fishmonger sets up her merchandise at the famous fish retail market in Kisumu, Oile.

As the poisoned and faeces bred tilapia continue to fill plates given its economic reprieve, consumers must look forward to a future of unexplainable illnesses. The pandemic isn’t closed to Kisumu alone, given the market pyramid in Kenya, there’s a high probability this Cheap China tilapia has gotten its way to most parts of the country including the leading cities as Nairobi, Nakuru and Mombasa.

In our next piece, we will expose and explain the persons behind this health risk venture in Kisumu. Next time you order for that tilapia, you might want to ask the seller kama ni ya China


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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [[email protected]]


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