Uganda gets loan to finance cage fish farms on Lake Victoria and Lake Albert
Wednesday, July 09, 2003
New Vision (Kampala, Uganda)
Anne Mugisa And Stuart Price
The Government has acquired a US$23million (sh46billion) loan from the African Development Bank(ADB) to finance cage fish farms on Lake Victoria and Lake Albert.
Agriculture, animal industry and fisheries minister, Kisamba Mugerwa, said that plans for commercial fish farming were to be implemented in order to achieve sustainable production that will supplement dwindling fish stocks. The state minister in charge of Fisheries, Dr. Fabius Byaruhanga, also said that some 60% of fishermen in Ugandan waters on Lake Victoria had encroached from neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania. He said that 80% of fishermen on Lake Albert, were encroaching Uganda's waters from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to Kisamba Mugerwa, the caged enclosures will not affect the local fishing communities that inhabit the lakeshores and myriad of islands scattered across the lakes. He said the farms cages should be located in a depth of 15metres or more. He said that the fishermen should also individually or in groups practice cage fish farming because they stand to benefit better.
Of the US$23m ADB loan, $16m will be used to develop infrastructure, which will include 30 new landing sites and 10 new markets for the trade. A further $2.4million is designated for fisheries management, including acquisition of patrol boats to police Ugandan waters.
About $0.9m has been earmarked for training the farmers on how to grow fish. The remainder of the loan has been earmarked for loans to the farmers which they will access through the micro credit agencies.
Besides alleviating the pressure on Lake Victoria's natural fish population, Kisamba said that due to globalisation and liberalisation, markets are continuing to increase and expand for all agricultural produce. He gave the example of the Uganda's achievements in the vanilla market after the troubles in Madagascar had created an opening that needed to be filled. He said that even if Madagascar re-establishes its market again, Ugandan will not be pushed out but that they can only compete and that will be healthy economic competition for the Ugandan vanilla-farming sector.