Fishing is one of the primary economic activities to the communities living in Kenya’s lake region. Lake Victoria, which happens to be the largest freshwater lake in the country and east Africa at large, has served locals in the areas since time immemorial, providing them with food, water, and travel means.
Nevertheless, while out fishing, the locals face diverse challenges, to begin with, their means of travel. The typical fishing vessel in the lake is speed boats. The latter is powered by expensive, unreliable and polluting petrol. In some instances, those who cannot afford the speed boats opt for wooden rowing boats. Occasionally, most fishers have lost their while navigating the lake’s deeper ends in search of fish.
The New Project
ASOBO, a motorboat company, launched its business operations in February 2020, intending to convince many anglers in the Lake region to switch to their high-tech engine drive. The company came up with the solution following the desire to reduce the Impacts of fuel emissions in Lake Victoria.
Fuel exhaust fumes such are carbon pollute the lake water by inhibiting the levels of oxygen. As such, the carbon endangers the entire aquatic ecosystem, the water, algae, fish, and other water organisms. A decline in fish populations also negatively impacts the fishermen’s living standards.
“For the community at large, what we are doing is reducing CO2 and other negative emissions massively into the air, as well as reducing oil pollution into the lake which is all associated with the use of petrol engines. So over time, what we with our model hope also to contribute is a much cleaner environment,” Laurens Friso, Co-founder, and CEO of ASOBO, said.
Besides supplying the new electric drive, the company also aims to train the fishermen on how to use the equipment. After all, what’s the use without the ideology to operate. The machine has a charging power of 24 to 3500 batteries, with 3.5 kilowatts per hour. It also has a backup system in case of low energy.
ASOBO hopes to expand the business across the lake region, even to Uganda, so tens of thousands of fishers can access the vessel and have an easy time fishing.
How the People Have Reacted to the Project
The Project has enlightened many fishers in the country. More so over the past months, them having been faced with unending problems. Accidents, Lack of funds, No fish, etc. Linet Achieng’ Rogo, a boat owner, can’t help but thank ASOBO for their Project. She says that the vessel has been of significant importance to her, especially as on some days they get a small catch or none at all.
Linet remarks that since ASOBO gives them the engine and batteries on credit, they do not have to divide their little share with petrol sellers. Neither do they have to go begging the pump owners for petrol? She can fish freely and pay later. What more would a fishing community need? The government should help such communities purchase the new models, so they won’t have to worry about the buying costs.