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Uganda: Fish Farming, Country's Untapped Treasure

UGANDA - As the number of fish in Lake Victoria continues to dwindle, Ugandans can now start thinking of making a fortune from fish farming. According to fishermen and fisheries authorities, all the major fish species; Nile perch and the tilapia are getting slimmer.

Fish prices on the local markets have gone up drastically. Fish is mainly got from five large lakes; Victoria, Kyoga, Albert, Edward and George.

Fish farming or aquaculture, if taken seriously, can reduce the pressure on the lakes.

A country like Israel does not have many lakes but is among the world's leading fish exporters, with 85% of their fish exports coming from private fish farms.

Several efforts are being made to promote fish farming in the country. The Government, non-governmental organisations and international bodies such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have helped set up fish farms in Arua, Koboko, Lira and Gulu districts.

Individuals have also set up ponds across the country. The species reared include tilapia, mirror cup and cat fish. However, these efforts are yet to develop into fully fledged commercial fish farming.

There is still very little awareness about fish farming across the country. According to Dr Lucas Ndawula, the deputy director of National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NAFIRRI), this lack of awareness mars the benefits of an otherwise profitable sector.