Fish Farmers Express Frustration Over High Feed Costs

Fish Farmers Voice Concerns About Soaring Feed Prices
PHOTO - Courtesy - Fish Farmers Voice Concerns About Soaring Feed Prices
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Fish farmers in Uganda are unhappy about the high prices of fish feeds. They talked about this problem during a training session for fish farmers, extension workers, and others interested in the industry. This event took place at the Mukono Zonal Agricultural Research Institute (MURZADI).

Christopher Tumukugize, a farmer from Kabarole District who raises catfish and tilapia, complained about the expensive cost of fish feeds. He said that a 20kg sack of feeds costs around Shs120,000.

Mr. Tumukugize attended the training to learn how to make fish feeds from local resources.

Saviour Akunzi, a fisheries officer from Mayuge District Local Government and an extension worker, noted that due to these high costs, some farmers are not using the right feeds for their fish. He said that some farmers are entering the aquaculture business without knowing how to be successful at it.

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During the meeting, it was revealed that some farmers are even using posho to feed their fish. However, Dr. Jackson Efitre, a senior lecturer in the Department of Zoology, Entomology, and Fisheries Sciences, explained that posho doesn’t have enough nutrients for proper fish growth. Fish need specific nutrients like proteins and carbohydrates, and using posho is not suitable.

Dr. Efitre mentioned that there is a project called “Promoting Environmentally Sustainable Commercial Aquaculture in Uganda (PESCA)” supported by the European Union. This project aims to improve the skills and knowledge of those involved in aquaculture. The project is a response to declining fish stocks in Uganda’s natural waters and the need to increase fish production through aquaculture.

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Uganda needs more than 1.7 million metric tonnes of fish, with 750,000 metric tonnes expected from natural waters and the rest from aquaculture, according to Mr. Efitre.

Dr. Gladys Bwanika, a lecturer from the College of Natural Sciences, encouraged fish farmers to transition from subsistence to commercial farming and make use of the available market for fish. She advised them to organize as registered business entities, as commercial aquaculture must adhere to the law.

Dr. Juliet Kigongo, another lecturer from the same college, emphasized that Uganda is witnessing a decline in fish species in its lakes, and aquaculture can help fill this gap.

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This training was organized by Makerere University College of Natural Sciences, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, and with support from the European Union.

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