Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The European Union is investing up to 37 billion shillings for the construction of two aquaculture parks in Kalangala and Apac districts. The parks are part of a wider project to promote environmentally sustainable commercial aquaculture project in Uganda.
The parks will have a fish seed hatchery and feed factory to provide all services needed for people in the two districts to engage in commercial fish production with quality products.
It is hoped that through the project, Uganda will develop and effectively enforce a sound policy and regulatory framework, enhance production and productivity of fish and fish products, reduce post-harvest losses and create marketing opportunities for aquaculture fish and fish products.
The cage based park in Kalangala will be set up at Mwena, Kalangala Island on Lake Victoria, while in Apac the development will be pond based on the River Nile north of Masindi Port. Aquaculture has been widely practised previously on Lake Victoria in Masese – Jinja, Kajjansi, Mukono and Kalangala.
The Director Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture Edward Rukuunya says that the investment is one of the mechanisms put in place by the government to diversify the fisheries sector in the country.
Rukuunya says that whereas people in the country have been engaging in aquaculture, there is limited knowledge on best practices among the farmers and those willing to join the initiatives.
The introduction of such project to the fish farmers according to Patience Rwemigisa, the director of Extension Services in the Ministry of Agriculture is one of the mechanisms to improve agriculture practices by the local farmers in the country.
Since 2015, there has been growth in incomes generated from fish exports. The country exported 18,408 metric tonnes of fish valued at USD 117.5 million (446.5 billion Shillings) in 2015. In 2016, 19,546 tonnes worth USD 121.8 million (462.8 billion Shillings) were exported. Whereas, as the volume of fish exported declined 19,222, the amount of money earned was higher USD 137 million (about 520 billion Shillings), according to the Bank of Uganda Statistics.
The Ministry of Agriculture says the increase in income earned from fish exports is a result of improving fishing methods and the introduction of aquaculture amongst the different people across the country engaging in the fishing business.