Minister Nankabirwa is doing good work in ensuring the sustainability of the Fishing Industry in Uganda. Her Ministry has however to do much more in training potential Fish Growers who will greatly help in meeting both the domestic demand for fish and that for export to boost the country's revenue.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
MINISTER RUTH NANKABIRWA TOUGHENS ON CATCHING IMMATURE FISH
Minister Ruth Nankabirwa
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The government has set up a plan to work on the order of the landing sites in the country in a bid to reduce on catching young and immature fish in the country.
State minister for fisheries Ruth Nankabirwa says that plans are on going to investigate and arrest all culprits involved in catching immature fish in the untry adding that so far the ministry has impounded several vehicles transporting the immature fish in several parts of the country
She says that many vehicles transporting immature fish are mostly found in areas of busia coming from Lake Kyoga to which they enter Kenya to get revenue seals that would make it easier for them to transport the fish
The minister also expressed concern on the hygiene at the landing sites. she says that smoking areas are wanting and therefore called upon people operating in such areas to be cautious. she says that fishermen should also mind about the quality of the fish as they mind about getting money.
FISH FARMING IN UGANDA PROVIDES INCOME AND FOOD
Published on 08 December 2005
A fish-farming project set up in Uganda under WFP's Food for Assets programme has provided poor communities with a source of income - as well as fish. This article by Peter Nyanzi was first published on the website of The Monitor newspaper.
A fish-farming project set up in Uganda under WFP's Food for Assets programme has provided poor communities with a source of income - as well as fish. This article by Peter Nyanzi was taken from the website of The Monitor newspaper.
Ponzio Anguzobo speaks excitedly about a new project WFP has launched in his rural village of Olieko, Aroyi sub-county in Arua district.
Like scores of his village mates who are so eager to tell anyone willing to listen about it, Anguzobo is all smiles about the Meya fishpond project.
Since December 2004, Anguzobo has been leading a group of about 100 locals who came together to spearhead the Meya fish-farming project. And he speaks about fish farming as if he is an expert in the field.
"It is so easy to do fish farming. If we had known about it earlier, we would be rich men by now," he says, pointing at a basin full of Tilapia from a fishpond built with support from WFP.
According to Pius Kwesiga, WFP's Aquaculture consultant, Meya is one of several groups that WFP started supporting in the West Nile region since November last year under the Food for Assets programme (FFA).
FFA is a creative initiative whereby food is given as an incentive to residents to work together to create community and household assets, explains WFP country director, Ken Davies.
Simply stated, it is food for work done and food for attaining skills - basically community-based initiatives that utilise food incentives to create physical and human assets.
Incentives to dig
According to Kwesiga, WFP gave out foodstuffs such as beans and maize as incentives for the local population to dig the ponds in lieu of cash.
The rate is calculated on the basis of the daily wage a casual worker is paid for work done. For the purposes of WFP, the worker is paid 80 percent of that as an equivalent in foodstuffs.
"The reason for this is to make the people appreciate the fact that they are not working for WFP but that it is indeed their own project and they need to have a sense of ownership of it," Kwesiga explains.
To date, the hugely successful and popular programme that started only about a year ago, boasts at least 88 ponds scattered in the districts of Yumbe, Arua and Koboko, and the number is growing daily.
Each group must have a minimum of four ponds, each pond measuring about 40 by 25 metres and 1 metre deep.
Meya has nine of them. There was excitement when the group had its first harvest of fish last week.
Needs assessment exercise
According to Davies, identification of the FFAs programmes was done through a community-based needs assessment exercise in which the beneficiaries got actively involved.
"FFAs are all about putting in place community-owned assets, as well as building skills and improved understanding to improve food security at the household and community levels.
"This programme seeks to do this by using food aid to support projects that will reduce people's vulnerability to food insecurity in the future," he says.
For the fish-farming project, 452 metric tons of food was distributed to about 2,000 participants as FFA. The objective of the fish-farming project was to enhance the rural community household income generation as well as improving diet as a post-conflict recovery intervention in the region.
With the assistance of sub-county officials, WFP community facilitators and elders in the 10 sub-counties, 2,058 participants were mobilised, registered and sensitised about the project purpose.
WFP thereafter analysed the feasible sites proposed by the participants and facilitated training in integrated fish farming in terms of modern pond construction, pond management and maintenance, management of funds and book keeping, fishnet sewing, charcoal smoker construction and utilisation and tree planting.
To date, Meya is one of 55 ponds already stocked with over 180,000 metric tons of fingerlings (young fish seed). Thirty-three more ponds will be stocked by the end of the year.
"The fish seed has to be procured from NARO centre at Kajjansi on Entebbe Rd due to lack of Tilapia fingerlings/fish seed production capacity in the region," Kwesiga says.
At least 180,000 fingerlings were procured at a cost of $4,500 (about 8 million Ugandan shillings) and transported in drums by road from Kajjansi to the sites.
When the first harvest takes place, about 34 metric tons of fish harvests worth 34 million shillings are expected annually.
Each beneficiary would get at least 160,000 shillings from the project every after 8 months. This is in addition to fish that each family gets to supplement their diet.
Enough for everyone
Saibu Ayile is the chairman of Wece Fish farming project in Terego county, Koboko district. He says the group has four ponds stocked with over 11,000 fingerlings. The first harvest is due shortly before the Christmas season when the demand would be highest.
"Soon, the people will not have to go as far as Panyimur on Lake Albert over 40km away to get fresh fish. There will be enough from these ponds for everyone," he says.
As a policy, all the WFP-supported fish farmers have half of the established ponds serving as fish seed production facilities (hatcheries) to ensure subsequent pond restocking after harvests and sustainability. The excess seed can then be sold to generate income.
Fingerling harvest is conducted on a monthly basis to harvest fish seed as well as check the fish population in the ponds. The recommended 1,000 square metre pond is intended to promote profitmaking through economies of scale that reduce the cost of producing each fish.
According to Kwesiga, WFP recommends fish stocking densities of three fish per cubic metre, where in a 1,000 square metre pond, a minimum of 3,000 fish are stocked and a target weight of 300 grams per fish after 6-8 months, with proper pond management is the target harvest.
Pond management involves regular fish feeding, pond compost changing, pond algae control, fish predator control and routine site monitoring and predator control. WFP assists the fish farmers with food that is not fit for human or animal consumption but fit for fish feeding.
Despite Uganda's fertile soil, favourable weather and growing economy, over half the population do not have sufficient access to food and are living in abject poverty.
WFP is probably better known as a food relief organisation. But according to Davies, FFA arose out of a need to cover both the immediate needs of the hungry poor, in order to save their lives and then to allow them to take advantage of opportunities to improve their livelihoods.
WFP believes that food is a form of assistance that meets one of the basic needs of poor families, specifically targeting regions assessed as Uganda's poorest and most food insecure; namely the North and North East.
In addition to enhancing emergency preparedness and response by targeting aid to chronically food deficit areas, WFP activities also provide the rural poor with assets and building their resilience to cope with recurrent calamities.
WFP believes that there is a clear link between poverty, underdevelopment and hunger and that food aid must be effectively targeted and programmed to achieve maximum development benefits.
Promoting food security
According to Hassan Abdelrazig, a Programme Officer at WFP (Uganda), FFA programmes such as the fish ponds in the West Nile region are a measure to facilitate investment in marginal areas and to protect or promote household food security while simultaneously contributing to a region's long-term development and individual capacity building.
Elvis Odeke, the FFA focal point officer adds that in addition to fishponds, other programmes include skills training and creating or improving public assets such as rural feeder roads, school and health structures.
"WFP is integrating food aid into a wider national recovery and development strategy that directly contributes to supporting adequate household food consumption in distress periods, assuring livelihoods and achieving a sustainable food security," Davies adds.
WFP supports school feeding programmes, which encourage school enrolment and attendance on top of providing nutritious food to the children.
However, WFP has found out that food incentives alone are not enough to encourage children to attend school.
At Ipa Primary School in Arua, WFP's FFA programme has enabled the construction of 10 teachers' houses. With teachers not having to walk long distances to come to school, academic standards have improved dramatically, says Lawrence Anzeti, one of the beneficiary teachers.
According to Davies, the long-term improvement in workforce productivity expected from a better-educated population is one of the obvious impacts of the programme.
He adds that WFP, in conjunction with other development partner organisations, is currently integrating deworming, HIV/AIDS prevention, nutrition and health education, water and sanitation, school vegetable gardens, re-forestation and capacity building activities into its school feeding programmes.
Davies says FFA programmes have long been used by WFP in countries such as India to build human capacity and as safeguards against drought, unemployment, famine and other similar conditions.
He says WFP has three ways of intervention into poor and food insecure communities.
It comes in with relief food during times of emergency, then it comes in to assist in times of recovery from conflict and finally gets involved in community development activities to build long term capacity to enhance food security.
Food security issue
"This is a food security issue," Davies says referring to the fish farming projects.
"We are not doing it and then walking away. The district authorities and communities have to keep it going. We are hopeful it will grow and expand to the other regions."
Anguzobo and the other beneficiaries are equally hopeful and rightfully so. His people were familiar with the benefits of fish but it was too far away to realise its dietary benefits.
Now, fish is not only accessible to as many people as need it but it is also a ready source of income to the impoverished communities in West Nile.
NATIONAL AQUACULTURE SECTOR OVERVIEW
Characteristics, structure and resources of the sector
History and general overview
Farming systems distribution and characteristics
Practices/systems of culture
Market and trade
Contribution to the economy
Promotion and management of the sector
The institutional framework
The governing regulations
Applied research, education and training
Trends, issues and development
Characteristics, structure and resources of the sector
Uganda produces up to 15 000 tonnes of fish from aquaculture, including production from small-scale fish farmers, emerging commercial fish farmers and stocked community water reservoirs and minor lakes. There are an estimated 20 000 ponds throughout the country with an average surface area of 500 m² per pond. Production ranges between 1 500 kg per hectare per year for subsistence farmers to 15 000 kg per hectare per year for emerging commercial fish farmers. With improved market prices for fish, government intervention for increased production and stagnating supply from capture fisheries, aquaculture has begun to attract entrepreneurial farmers seeking to exploit the business opportunity provided by the prevailing demand for fish. This recent expansion in aquaculture has also resulted in the transformation of 20 percent to 30 percent of the smallholder subsistence ponds into profitable small-scale production units through developments in management as well as scale of production. It is estimated that there are 2 000 such farmers who own nearly 5 000 ponds, with an average pond size of 1 500 m² per pond.
The new entrants, mostly from the middle and working class as well as a few businessmen, target specific and established markets. They have adopted improved production systems including inputs from technical experts for better planning and management. Pond surface is in the range of 5 000 m² to 50 000 m² numbering 500, an estimated 20 percent to 30 percent of which are active. This category includes commercial hatchery operators and a number of grow-out farmers who are already exporting to markets in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Rwanda. Industrial and more intensified fish culture is only beginning to be established, largely through foreign direct investment or as joint ventures between local firms and foreign companies. Most farms/companies at this level are only in the process of putting their infrastructure in place or are at the initial stages of the production process. The majority of such companies is targeting production at the regional markets and plans to enter international markets by activating the currently non-utilized fish processing capacity in the country.
History and general overview
Aquaculture in Uganda is recorded to have started in 1941 after carp was imported into the country. Fish farming was officially proposed by the colonial authorities and the Kajjansi Fish Experimental Station established in 1947. However, the introduction of carp, was embroiled in controversies due to differences among the lead scientists on the possible adverse impact of common carp on the indigenous aquatic environment in case they escaped from the confines of the fishponds. Because of this, it was decided to use tilapia for stocking purposes. A vigorous fish farming extension programme resulted in the construction of 1 500 ponds by 1956; these were concentrated in the central region (Buganda) and the most southwestern part of the country (Kigezi). In 1959-1960 an FAO- supported comparative evaluation of carp and tilapia endorsed the use of carp and resulted in further expansion of aquaculture in Uganda. Aquaculture was further promoted under the drive for rural development, and by late 1968 the Department of Fisheries recorded up to 11 000 ponds mostly producing fish for subsistence. However, subsistence farming was largely based on the supply of seed from farmer to farmer and/or from the government station, which hampered the expansion of the aquaculture sub-sector. Changing policies under successive governments also led to uneven support and many farmers abandoned ponds due to lack of stocking materials, limited technical guidance and excessive government regulatory regimes. The Fisheries Master Plan study of 1999 established that Uganda had only 4 500 functioning ponds with only a portion stocked, producing 285 tonnes of fish annually.
With the government's strategic intervention and support from development partners such as FAO, aquaculture has picked up once again reaching 15 000 tonnes of fish currently (2005) produced from 20 000 ponds of an average size of 500 m². Due to the limited availability of fish seed, carp has fallen out of favour, and North African catfish, along with Nile tilapia, has taken its place. Although fish farming in Uganda has so far been pond- and subsistence-based, the growing interest in commercial aquaculture is providing an impetus towards cage-culture based aquaculture.
There are currently an estimated 12 000 farmers involved in aquaculture, with about 150 service providers or extension workers employed by local governments. In 50 of the 56 districts there is an officer employed by the local government in charge of technical guidance and management of the aquaculture sub-sector. Another estimated 100 technical persons with basic training in fisheries and aquaculture work as private service providers under the privatised, demand driven and farmer managed extension and advisory system. At the Ministry headquarters (Department of Fisheries Resources) there is an Aquaculture Unit headed by a Principal Fisheries Officer who is in charge of 5 Senior Fisheries Officers and 4 support staff. The Aquaculture Unit reports to the Assistant Commissioner for Fisheries. There are 100 managers for the upcoming commercial fish farms, some of whom have received formal training in fisheries and aquaculture. Under each of these farm managers there is an average of 3 labourers who support the manager on the farm. In addition, around 20 000 specialized manual labourers, who are mostly part-time, undertake tasks such as construction of ponds and water and diversion channels, site clearance, stocking and seining at harvesting. There are also some specialized groups of youth who undertake pond construction on a contract basis.
Farming systems distribution and characteristics
The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has identified 31 districts as suitable for fisheries and aquaculture development based on both natural and socio-economic factors. These districts are: Mayuge, Jinja, Bugiri, Busia, Mukono, Mpigi, Wakiso, Masaka, Rakai, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Ntungamo, Kasese, Hoima, Masindi, Nebbi, Gulu, Adjumani, Arua, Kamuli, Soroti, Lira, Iganga, Tororo, Pallisa, Mbale, Apac, Kabiramaido, Kabarole, Kamwenge and Kyenjojo. They are located around the country's major water systems including Lake Victoria Crescent, Lake Kyoga basin, River Nile catchment, Edward-George complex and the Koki lakes.
The most common production systems at all these locations are extensive and semi-intensive pond based aquaculture systems.
With its good quality growth characteristics, easy production of fish seed and good taste across the country, Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) was until recently the most farmed species. Nile tilapia was transplanted from Lake Albert to restock Lakes Victoria and Kyoga and several of their surrounding minor lakes and adjoining river systems. Through restocking programmes and aquaculture, it has been planted in virtually all Uganda waters including shared/transboundary water bodies. The only drawback is its prolific reproduction and the seemingly resultant stuntedness.
North African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) has recently overtaken Nile tilapia as the most popular species for aquaculture in Uganda. Rural farmers have grown fond of it, and there is a growing regional market for this species. Its main characteristics are its fast growth and ability to literally feed on anything organic available at household level. This species is found in all waters of Uganda, especially those linked to swamps, and it has traditionally been a primary target for a good segment of the fishing community. North African catfish currently contributes an estimated 60 percent of aquaculture production in Uganda. The most limiting aspect of the culture of the catfish in Uganda is the availability of good quality and sufficient fish seed as when required by the grow-out farmers. This has been largely overcome with support from FAO. Fish seed for North African catfish can easily be produced in quantities demanded by grow-out farmers.
The third most frequent species is the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) which was first introduced from Israel in 1941 with the aim of stocking the fingerlings in the relatively colder waters of Lake Bunyonyi in southwestern Uganda. However, propagation of this species was only successful in the late 1940s and was first tried out with farmers in the early 1950s in the Buganda region in central Uganda followed by Kigezi in southwestern Uganda. The common carp did much better than tilapia and was preferred by farmers, but inability to produce sufficient quantity of fish seed, poor extension and change of focus of the post-independence governments did not favour the expansion of carp aquaculture in Uganda. It is currently abundant in some parts of the country, but only as a minor component.
Tilapia zilli and Oreochromis leucostictus were transplanted from Lake Albert along with Nile tilapia and Nile perch from the 1940s in an attempt to augment the fisheries of Lakes Kyoga and Victoria. Although the two species were successfully propagated and distributed, they have not been as successful as Nile tilapia in either natural waters or in fishponds. The other species used in aquaculture but introduced from outside the country are Tilapia rendalli, black bass and trout. These three were initially very successful, but only Tilapia rendalli can still be found in the natural waters as it easily reproduces in the wild while black bass and trout need artificial propagation for recruitment.
Other species that have been introduced and cultured in Uganda waters have been the giant river prawn (Macrobrochium rosenbergii) and the red swamp crawfish (Procambarus clarkii). The former is only maintained in the country by regular importation of larvae for culture, while the latter has established reasonable populations in Lake Bunyonyi and at Kajjansi Aquaculture Research and Development Center. However, the red swamp crawfish at Kajjansi has become a menace as it bores through the earthen ponds causing leakage and cross-pond fish mixing.
Practices/systems of culture
Pond culture is the most common system in the country. Other forms of fish culture such as cage culture are only starting to be discussed especially by the emerging commercial fish farmers. Previously farmers, 99 percent of whom were subsistence fish farmers, had ponds ranging anywhere from 50 m² to 200 m². The majority (an estimated 60 percent) remain at subsistence level of production with little or no technical inputs or management. With the drive to commercialise aquaculture, production efforts to increase the pond surface have resulted in a current average of 500 m² per pond. Farmers at this level have adopted the use of inputs such as quality fish seed and feed. The feed, however, is still usually made on-farm using formulae provided by the Kajjansi Aquaculture Research and Development Center.
According to the Department of Fisheries there are two key species cultured in Uganda contributing over 90 percent of the total aquaculture production in the country. North African catfish has overtaken Nile tilapia and is now the most common culture species in the country, with production in 2004 at 3 859.2 tonnes. However, with the government setting up conditions for export to premium markets and the investors' interest in tapping this market, Nile tilapia, currently at 1 632.5 tonnes, will overtake North African catfish in a few years, given its international market position.
Aquaculture production projections for 2005 are based on fish seed production capacity, stocking record, size of stocked water bodies and number and size of farmer ponds. The Department of Fisheries Resources has projected an annual production of 15 000 tonnes for 2005. This includes production expected from stocked community dams and reservoirs projected at 9 500 tonnes; 2 500 tonnes expected from the 11 000 subsistence farmers' ponds which currently stand at 17 000; and another 3 000 tonnes by an estimated 200 emerging commercial farmers whose production is targeted at the regional market. The total pond surface area is estimated at about 6.5 km² (650 hectares) with North African catfish comprising over 80 percent of the farmed fish production.
The graph below shows total aquaculture production in Uganda according to FAO statistics:
Reported aquaculture production in Uganda (from 1950)
(FAO Fishery Statistic)
enlarge graph see results as a table
(Source: FAO Fishery Statistics, Aquaculture production)
Market and trade
When they decide to sell, most rural farmers sell their fish at the pond site. A few have established stalls by the roadside or within the nearest trading centre where they sell their 'catch' from the pond on a regular basis. In a number of districts farmers have formed associations through which they have arranged for synchronized harvesting and collective marketing. In some instances the fish is processed by sun drying, salting or smoking and is transported in bulk to more lucrative markets such as urban centres or border points for regional trade. At the regional level the main importing countries are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Rwanda in diminishing order of importance.
Fish is also being processed for shipping to the border market points by individual farmers and by traders who are not directly involved in fish production. The two major species traded are North African catfish projected at about 70 percent for the regional market and Nile tilapia, most of which is traded locally with some also processed for export. The only known international export of farmed fish from Africa consists of 1.5 tonnes per week of cold-smoked catfish which comes from a firm in Entebbe.
All fish sold by the ponds is fresh, while that sold to markets further away is processed as described above. There are size limits to aquaculture products, but to differentiate between farmed and capture fish a fish movement permit is required indicating origin and destination of the fish. The authority responsible for issuing movement permits is the Department of Fisheries Resources or designated officers in the local governments. Another item now being traded regionally is the fish seed of both North African catfish and Nile tilapia which is being transported live to Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo for grow-out production, and to Kenya and Tanzania as bait for the Nile perch fishery on Lake Victoria.
Contribution to the economy
There are three types of aquaculture practiced in Uganda and they differ according to the market and type of farmer and their contribution to overall fish production. The first category is that of rural aquaculture which is practiced basically for subsistence. It is a low or no input system largely dependent on the public sector and friendly farmers for fish seed and advice. From this segment has emerged the small-scale aquaculture. This category is carried out by what the Department terms as small-scale progressive fish farmers. Their aim is to produce fish for income generation and some for household animal protein requirements. The third category is that of 'emerging commercial fish farmers' who, though not operating fully as commercial modern production enterprises, are aspiring to turn their farms into business ventures through production and trade in farmed fish. Their motive is solely profit through marketing of aquaculture products to high paying markets. The Department, through the support of DFID (Department for International Development, UK) established that rural aquaculture is vital in the provision of animal protein to the rural communities, but makes a limited contribution to overall fish production and the national economy. The second category of progressive small-scale fish farmers, driven by the quest for income and profit, has a more significant bearing on fish production, and contributes directly to the rural economy through trade in farmed fish. The farmed fish from the third category, the emerging commercial fish farmers, makes a very significant and visible contribution to fish production and the national economy.
Promotion and management of the sector
The institutional framework
The Minister of State for Fisheries is directly responsible for the aquaculture sub-sector within the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries. At the next level, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries supervises administration and accounting for the Department of Fisheries Resources, as well as the other departments in the Ministry. The Directors of Crop and of Animal Resources form the next level, and actual administrative control is vested by law in the Commissioner for Fisheries, legally known as the Chief Fisheries Officer, who heads the Department of Fisheries Resources, and works directly under the Director, Animal Resources. In addition, an independent Procurement Unit is responsible for all procurements and disposable public assets within the Ministry.
The governing regulations
The Fish Act (1964), which is currently under review, is the principal Act from which regulations for aquaculture have been developed. Existing aquaculture regulations include Fish (Aquaculture) Rules 2003, which regulate aquaculture practices, especially at the commercial level.
The National Agriculture Research System Act (2005) regulates fisheries and aquaculture research among other agriculture research areas. This Act breaks the monopoly of public agriculture research by public institutions and opens it up to other interested competent agencies and individuals through competitive research grants. In essence, it allows, in the case of aquaculture, other key players from academic institutions, private researchers or research agencies and other public agencies without a formal mandate to engage in aquaculture research using public funding.
The Land Act (1995) spells out the tenure system for land ownership and legal rights of what can be done in and on one's land. The Act also defines ownership of wetlands, swamps and other shallow waters within one's confine or land.
The National Environment Management Authority Statute deals with protection of the environment and regulates all activities that may impinge on the quality of the environment.
The Water Law spells out the use, access, responsibility of user, conflict resolution in water resource use and access for all users including aquaculture practitioners.
Applied research, education and training
Research priorities are developed and agreed upon by all stakeholders every three years under the medium term framework. The process of identifying and setting the research agenda is participatory and requires the consent of all key stakeholders through a process dealt with by the Secretariat of the National Agriculture Research Organization. Until recently state-sanctioned research was the remit of the Fisheries Resources Research Institute under the Kajjansi Aquaculture Research and Development Center. As described in the preceding section, the National Agriculture Research System Act has resulted in aquaculture research being opened up to other public or private institutions and individuals such as universities, consultancies and training institutions with the capability to carry out the required research. The Kajjansi Aquaculture Research and Development Center remains, however, the core institute for strategic research in the country. On-farm trials and 'farmer participatory research' have been the norm. Aquaculture research has been funded by other organizations and individuals including non-government agencies, universities and students, farmers interested in understanding and solving issues of commercial aquaculture, donor agencies and local governments.
The most significant aquaculture research institution in the country is the Kajjansi Aquaculture Research and Development Center at Kajjansi in Entebbe. Research and postgraduate work, degrees, diplomas and certificate training are offered by the Zoology Department at the Faculty of Science and the Department of Wildlife at the Veterinary Faculty in Makerere University of Kampala. The Fisheries Training Institute in Entebbe offers opportunities for research and diplomas and certificate training.
Trends, issues and development
Until recently, most fish farmers in Uganda were poor people in villages who practiced aquaculture for subsistence with ponds of usually less than 500 m² constructed using family labour. These are low or no input production systems, with little or no need for routine management. Those who have had some training in the management of ponds usually fertilize their ponds with either chicken droppings or cow dung and any other organic house waste. Production is usually in the range of 5 kg to 10 kg/100 m² (i.e. 500 kg to 1 000 kg per hectare) per annum. The number of ponds at this level is estimated at 11 000 to 15 000 ponds with nearly 80 percent currently active. These 11 000 to 15 000 ponds are of an average size of 200 m² and are owned by an estimated 8 000 farmers.
However, with rising market prices for fish, government intervention, the quest for profitable production, and stagnating supply from capture fisheries, farmers are beginning to build more and larger ponds of 1 000 m² or more, and using higher stocking densities especially for North African catfish. These developments are driven by commercial interests of farmers with access to land and reasonably large families which provide labour or who have the ability to harness labour. With a growing trend towards planned production utilizing technical assistance from private service providers, this new brand of fish farmers is willing to pay for quality fish seed from the specialized private commercial hatcheries.
Current estimates are that 20 percent to 30 percent of the smallholder subsistence ponds have been transformed into profitable small-scale production units. Marketing of farmed fish is also better organized at this level, and fish is either sold away from ponds or processed (salted and sun dried) for better paying markets in the neighbourhood. A number of people in the civil service and in private businesses who own land with ample water supply have taken to fish farming for profit as an extra activity on their farms. It is estimated that there are nearly 3 000 to 5 000 ponds owned by nearly 2 000 farmers operating at this level.
In addition, a few of these farmers have improved their aquaculture holdings and management to the level referred to by the Department as 'emerging commercial' aquaculture. These farmers operate purely for profit and are driving the growth in aquaculture-associated infrastructure such as production of quality fish seed in quantities demanded and when needed. Farmers at this level have adopted the use of formulated feed and can be categorized as having semi-intensive production systems. Throughout the country these farmers number about 200 and contribute nearly 20 percent to 30 percent of active pond surface. This category of farmers has only emerged in the last 2 to 3 years with support from the government's strategic interventions for the promotion of fish exports. Indeed, several have already started exporting their fish in the form of both 'quality' fish seed and table fish to regional markets such as those in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Rwanda.
Industrial and/or more intensified fish culture in Uganda is only just beginning to be established. Most farms and companies at this level are either at the stage of putting infrastructure in place or at the beginning of the production process. This level is extremely capital intensive and requires technical expertise from highly experienced personnel, including those from other countries. Fish feed production at commercial level is being lined up and trial runs for production and marketing by at least a couple of companies are underway. There are plans to adopt an outgrower system by providing small commercial fish farms with basic inputs including seed and feed in return for purchase of the fish produced at agreed rates.
FAO publications related to aquaculture for Uganda.
FAO. 2005. Aquaculture production, 2003. Year book of Fishery Statistics - Vol.96/2. Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.
Oenga, D.N., Mwanja, W.W. & Mushi, V. Meeting the increasing demand for fish in the Lake Victoria Basin through development of aquaculture. Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization Conference, 2005-02, Entebbe, Uganda.
Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (ACP-EU). Summary Report of a CTA study visit. 1999. Sustainable agro-pisculture systems in sub-Saharan Africa.
Aggrey, J.D., Ambali & Malekano Lawrence, B. 2002. Genetic improvement with specific reference to tilapia genetic resources in Africa and their use in aquaculture: Potential benefits and risks. In Modadugu V. Gupta, Devin M. Bartley & Belen O. Acosta, eds. Use of genetically improved and alien species for aquaculture and conservation of aquatic biodiversity in Africa. Worldfish Center, Penang, Malaysia.
Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries. 2000. Lake Victoria frame survey 2000. Main results of the survey: Frame survey data collection subcomponent of the fisheries management component. Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, Government of Uganda, Entebbe.
Brummett & Randall, E. 2002. Indigenous species for African aquaculture development. In Modadugu V. Gupta, Devin M. Bartley & Belen O. Acosta, eds. Use of genetically improved and alien species for aquaculture and conservation of aquatic biodiversity in Africa. Worldfish Center, Penang, Malaysia.
Hishamunda & Nathanael. 2001. Investment and economic feasibility: Promotion of sustainable commercial aquaculture in sub-Saharan Africa. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 408.
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. 2000. The state of world fisheries and aquaculture, 2000. FAO Rome.
Department of Fisheries Resources. 2004. Fisheries Sector Strategic Plan, 2004. Department of Fisheries Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Entebbe, Uganda.
Department of Fisheries Resources. 2005. National Fisheries Planning Overview 2005. Department of Fisheries Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Entebbe, Uganda.
Department of Fisheries Resources. 2004. The National Fishery Policy. Department of Fisheries Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Entebbe, Uganda.
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