Pressure from UPDF Marine Forces Drives Teso Residents to Embrace Fish Farming

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Officials in Soroti City inspecting the fish ponds in Opiyai, Soroti. (Photo by Steven Ariong)
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Teso, Uganda – A big population in Teso region have embraced fish farming along their wetlands with the support from ministry of water and environment following the persisting pressure by the UPDF marine forces against fishing in lake Kyoga.

A one week survey by this publication discovered that more than 1,000 people in varrious districts such as Soroti, Pallisa, Serere,Ngora,Kumi, Bukedea and Butebo districts are seriously engaged in fish farming.

At Opiyai ward in Soroti city, the ministry of water constructed 14 fish ponds which has turned to ba a source of fortune for 50 fish farmers who are now fetching millions of shillings from the ponds.

Mr.Simon Ebitu the coordinator of Opiyai small scale irrigation scheme hailed the ministry of water and environment for constructing the fish ponds in the area that has turned to be a rescue point for many people.

According to Mr.Ebitu the ponds which were constructed in 2018 have improved the household income of many people in Soroti district.

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“Every year we make between 10 to 20m in one fish pond and this money relieves people from fees and other domestic burdens,”he said.

Ebitu now urges government to use the line ministry to help farmers get access to Agriculture credit loan which he said most Banks in Teso have not been giving farmers such loans on law interest rate instead they give and charge at their bank interest rate.

He also appealed government to support fish farmers with machines that will help to produce fish feeds so entire Teso region.

Joseph Odeke from Serere said ever since he missed being killed by soldiers in the lake, he has never stepped in lake and that he’s now concentrating with his fish ponds which are generating for him money without facing torture.

“Am now a happy man, last month I harvested my fish I I shs 14million, I have used 4million for clearing fees of my two daughters in Makerere University, I bought more feeds for the remaining fish in another three ponds which am expecting to harvest by next month December,”he said.

According to Mr Odeke in the beginning it looked so hard because the whole process needs patience but now am the champion and I have never dreamed of going back to Lake kyoga anymore,”he said.

This publication visited Limoto Wise Use Demonstration site in Limoto Village, Bolliso 1 Sub county in Pallisa district, found farmers there busy with their fish work.

In area ministry of water and environment constructed 10 fish cages with a capacity of 2,500 fish per each making bringing the total of 25,000 fish stocked in the 10 cages.

Speaking to this publication Mr. Siraji Gasyodo one of the many fish farmers in this project and also a leader of the group said they used to think it was only rice growing makes someone rich but now am rich.

“As a group we have shs 43million and we got this inlessthan eight month you can see that,”he said.

Mr.Siraji said whenever they harvest their fish, all the money they get they deposit it into their Saaco account where members again borrow at their individual level incase someone has a problem.

Mr.Joel Opange another farmer said embracing fish farming has saved them from being nojailed for fishing in lake Kyoga.

“Those who don’t want to embrace fish farming, let them continue being chased like terrorists but some of us we have rested and we are making more money than being chased in the lakes,”he said.End.

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