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Kagera residents urged to adopt fish farming for food sufficiency

THE Kagera Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS), Prof Faustine Kamuzora has challenged residents in the area to adopt fish farming to increase their revenue and also improve the nutrition status of children and pregnant women.

He noted that Kagera has a positive climate to benefit from fish farming. Fish farming or pisciculture involves raising fish commercially in tanks or enclosures such as fish ponds, usually for food. It is the principal form of aquaculture, while other methods may fall under mariculture.

A facility that releases juvenile fish into the wild for recreational fishing or to supplement a species’ natural numbers is generally referred to as a fish hatchery. Aquaculture in Tanzania is dominated by freshwater fish farming in which small-scale farmers practice both extensive and semi-intensive fish farming.

Small fish ponds of an average size of 10 m x 15 m (150 m2) are integrated with other agricultural activities such as gardening and animal and bird production on small pieces of land. Tanzania is currently estimated to have 14,100 freshwater fishponds scattered across the Mainland.

In addition, there is a large rainbow trout farm with an area of 25 m x 25 m situated in Arusha. The distribution of fishponds in the country is determined by several factors such as availability of water, suitable land for fish farming, awareness and motivation within the community on the economic potential in fish farming.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), indicates that although very profitable internationally, shrimp farming is still in the experimental phase in Tanzania. FAO notes: “Shrimp farming has the potential to be a profitable activity in Tanzania but there are widespread concerns about its potential environmental and socio- economic impacts based on observation of the global industry.”

In recent years seaweed farming has become popular in some coastal areas as a means of income generation. Seaweed cultivation has rapidly emerged as one of the major cash crops in Tanga and Zanzibar, producing enough income to cover household costs.

The Fisheries Annual Statistics Report – 2013 published in May 2014 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries shows that fish production reached 367,854 metric tons in 2013, increasing only by 4.7 per cent or 16,729 metric tons in the period 2003-2013. Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest freshwater fishery.

It is shared between Uganda (43 per cent ), Kenya (6 per cent ) and Tanzania (51per cent ). The Lake Victoria Nile Perch (NP) fishery is a significant contributor to the social and economic development of the above-mentioned, the FMP indicates.

The catch of NP in Lake Victoria has averaged 250,000t per annum in the last 20 years. During the last 5 years, the value of the exports of NP products from Lake Victoria varied between USD250m and USD310m per annum. In 2008 the main market was the EU (taking about 60 to 80 per cent of the total product).

Other markets include Japan, Israel and the Middle East. According to the latest available data, in 2012 Tanzania had the largest number of fishery units targeting NP. The total number of Tanzania’s units amounted to 16,638 (44 per cent ), followed by Uganda with 15,270 (41 per cent ) and Kenya with 5,676 (15 per cent ).

Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, indicated that the country is experiencing a shortage of over 400,000 tonnes of fish, which represents a business and investment opportunity for the private sector.

The announcement was made during a workshop on ‘New Opportunities in Agribusiness’ held recently, where Mapunda explained that 80% of the fishes supplied in Tanzania were captured from the seas and lakes and there are 20,000 public fish ponds that produce just 10,000 tonnes per year.

“Yet, the demand [for fishery products] is high,” explained Mapunda. The Fisheries Annual Statistics Report – 2013 published in May 2014 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries shows that fish production reached 367,854 metric tons in 2013, increasing only by 4.7 per cent or 16,729 metric tons in the decade 2003- 2013.

However the same report estimates that the country has the potential of harvesting about 2,537,444 metric tons of fish from its traditional sources of Lakes Victoria, Tanganyika, Nyasa, Rivers, Dams and the inshore marine waters. The estimate covers only the freshwater and territorial waters.

In order to promote agribusiness in Tanzania, the government has reduced import taxes on most of the agriculture equipment including those used in fish farming. In February 2015 the World Bank Group’s (WBG) approved USD 75.5 million for the First South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Governance and Shared Growth Project (SWIOFish1).

The project aims to improve the management of fisheries and increase the economic benefits from fishing-related activities for families living in the coastal communities of the South West Indian Ocean region. Worldwide, the most important fish species produced in fish farming are carp, tilapia, salmon, and catfish.

Demand is increasing for fish and fish protein, which has resulted in widespread overfishing in wild fisheries. China provides 62 per cent of the world’s farmed fish. As of 2016, more than 50 per cent of seafood was produced by aquaculture.

Farming carnivorous fish, such as salmon, does not always reduce pressure on wild fisheries. Carnivorous farmed fish are usually fed fishmeal and fish oil extracted from wild forage fish. The 2008 global returns for fish farming recorded by the FAO totaled 33.8 million tonnes worth about $US 60 billion.……. best practices.

Participant should be able to understand and explain general concept of fish farming and fish farming best practices in Tanzania…. acquire and practice skills on how to construct fish pond of various types and size, understand how to fertilize fish pond, transfer fingerlings from the producer to the fish pond, general concept of fish nutrition, how to prepare feed, how to feed the fish and proper feed storage.

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