Lack of Extension Services Fails Commercial Fish Farming in Kabarole

2587 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
Mwesige wants the district to extend financial support to fish farmers to enable them get new fish breeds and buy the recommended feeds.

Lack of extension services to the fishing sector is affecting commercial fish farming in Kabarole district. Records from the district production department indicate that there are more than 700 fish farmers in the district who are all engaged in subsistence fish farming.

Kabalore district is a favorable location for fish farming since it has 54 crater lakes deemed suitable for the business. Under subsistence fish farming, farmers dig ponds on a limited area to produce fish for consumption.
In some areas, fish farmers own ponds measuring between 50 to 100 square meters holding 80-100 fish. The ponds are poorly attended too. Patrick Mugume, a fish farmer in Rwimi Sub County says he embraced fish farming about two years ago hoping he would earn income from fish sales.

He however explains that due to lack of training in pond management, which covers fish feeding, pond algae control and predator control, he decided to engage in substance farming.  

Martin Mwesige, another fish farmer says that he has failed to engage in commercial fish farming because he does not have sufficient capital to buy fish feeds in order to improve on the fish breeds. He says the district authorities haven't done much to help fish farmers. 
Mwesige wants the district to extend financial support to fish farmers to enable them get new fish breeds and buy the recommended feeds. 

//Cue in: "no support... 
Cue out: "...feeding the fish."//

David Asiimwe, the chairperson Kabarole Fish Farmers Association says extension workers who are supposed to train farmers on how to handle fish don't exist in the community.
Asiimwe explains that local fish farmers need a lot of technical expertise in pond construction and management, fish feeding, harvesting, processing and marketing. 

//Cue in: "staff in extension…
Cue out: "…prioritize commercial farming."// 

Brian Baguma, the Kabarole district fisheries officer says the department has failed to encourage commercialization of fishing farming because it is short of resources and manpower to sensitize the farmers. 

Baguma however says all the 53 crater lakes in the district will be restocked with different species of fish to improve production.  He adds that the district will also start practicing Cage Fish farming, which involves confining fish in a suspended cage.

//Cue in: "we have the restocking… 
Cue out: "…pour in the waters."// 

In a bid to boost fish outputs, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has drafted a new policy that seeks to promote fish farming in the country through establishing aquaculture parks. 

The policy could go a long way towards reviving the dwindling fish volumes that once made Uganda a strong fish-exporting country. According to the draft policy, the government will identify specific areas in the country that are suitable for fish farming and acquire the sites for concentrated production.


About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.