water hyacinth smothers Lake Victoria

Over the years, the day-to-day life of fishermen on Lake Victoria, Kenya, has become a nightmare. Involved, the invasive presence of a plant, water hyacinth, which complicates access to the lake. Native to South America, the water hyacinth first appeared in Kenya in the early 1990s, flowing through a river from the neighboring country, Uganda. Since then, it has continued to proliferate. Periodically, it can cover 17,000 hectares, or 5% of the surface of the lake, to the point of trapping fishermen. As a result, the fishing industry is suffering. Production has fallen by 30% in the last five years. For the president of the fishermen's association, the plant has also dropped the fish population in the lake. The largest lake in Africa must be prevented from dying, and thousands of fishermen dependent on them must lose their jobs.

It's been thirty years since the problem arose, and no solution to make the plant disappear was found. For good reason, according to researcher Christopher Aura, from the Kenyan Fisheries Research Institute, the number of water hyacinths doubles every two weeks. For a year, a group of twenty fishermen understood that there could be an interest in collecting the water hyacinth. When they can not access the lake, they are paid to pick up the plants. Jack Oyugi, a trained biologist from the region, came up with the idea of ​​collecting this plant to feed the animals. After several years of research, he ended up finding the right formula. It must be dried and then ground until a powder that can feed the poultry. Learning to live with water hyacinth, and if possible to profit from it, is a challenge for Africa. The plant is indeed present in more than 20 countries on the continent.

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