Alisom Products is turning fish skin into useful products, in a country where 80% of the 1,50,000-tonne fish waste is dumped
Women sharpen their knives before setting about stinking piles of fish skins, flesh and bones that cover the floor at an unusual artisanal tannery in western Kenya.
Set up by a 39-year-old industrial chemist named Newton Owino, Alisom Products separates fish skins from the rest of the waste, then tans them to make a kind of leather used to manufacture handbags, wallets, shoes, hats and jackets.
Kisumu, on Lake Victoria, is a piscatorial place, a city where grilled tilapia and Nile perch are a ubiquitous delicacy, and from where cleaned fillets are exported around the region and the world.
But Mr. Owino saw opportunity in the leftovers.