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China Helps Boost Uganda's Fish Farming Industry

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CHINA and UGANDA - Fisheries resources are among the most significant natural endowments of Uganda, according to experts. With about 20 per cent of its surface area covered by water, Uganda has enormous fisheries resources potential for both capture fisheries and aquaculture production.

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Uganda's fisheries landscape includes the five large which include Lake Victoria, Kyoga, Albert, Edward, George and Kazinga Channel, 160 minor lakes, rivers, swamps and floodplains all of which are critical habitats, breeding and nursery grounds for fish and suitable sites for fish farming.

With a rapid population growth rate of 3.2 per cent per annum, one of the highest in the world, fish farming may be the way to go for Uganda especially in the context of limited land for cultivation.

China under its Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is helping the east African country boost its fish farming industry.

The Asian country under the eight measures announced by President Hu Jintao during the 2006 FOCAC meeting held in Beijing, has set up a $5 million fish farming demonstration center dubbed China-Uganda Friendship Agricultural Technological Demonstration Center.

At the center located on the outskirts of the capital Kampala, local farmers are trained in modern ways of fish farming using simple and affordable technologies.

The center has also got a fish hatchery as well as a feed factory.

Fish experts from across the east African region also visit the center to share knowledge on best practices of fish farming.

The Chinese through their vast experience in fish farming over the years, have introduced simple technologies to boost fish production, for instance, cage farming, selective breeding, feeds that have nutrients to boost growth among others.

They have also introduced Chinese fish species that can do well in Uganda's environment.

"As far as fish farming is concerned, it was made visible by this project and I can say this project has transformed the perception that people had about fish farming," said Justus Rutaisire, former head of the demonstration center and principal researcher.

"People have been able to see fish grow from about 300 grams to about 2 kg in 12 months because of the way the Chinese do fish farming. The coming of the Chinese bringing their technology in this country is going to cause a big change and transform the way fishing is done," he added.

To read more about the project, click here.