PRIVATE sector should tap conducive environment for business through construction of industries, five star hotels and other key sectors including agriculture, health, education and minerals-a key priority of the sixth phase government under President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan.
Various projects being implemented by the government in the Lake Zone and across the country will have positive results by stimulating economic activities in the East African Community (EAC) nations.
Among the mega projects include the Rubafu Bay Cage Fish Farming project, which is estimated to cost a total of 85 million US dollars.
Kagera Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr Albert Chalamila told the “Daily News’ in an interview that about 12 Consortium Group of Companies (CGC) from the US had shown interest to invest in the project.
“We thank President Samia Suluhu Hassan for the efforts in implementing people-oriented projects. The Rubafu Cage Fish Farming Project is of great importance as it would open a new chapter and boost Kagera Region’s economy,” he said.
Elaborating, he said the region had already received the Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) certificate from the Vice-President’s Office (NEMC), while other requirements were in final touches.
Cage fishing is a big opportunity where people could improve their livelihoods. I appeal to people (men and women) engaging in fisheries activities to form cooperative groups to benefit from the funds, he said.
“The government has finalised plans to introduce cage fish farming in Kagera Region in efforts to increase revenue from fisheries resources. Fish farming is an occupation which can rapidly make Kagera farmers combat poverty and hunger. Fish breeding is less demanding economic venture, which anyone willing people can undertake.
The farmers could double their income through aquaculture following a scientific report that a farmer could earn up to 20m/- a year,” he said.
Aquaculture is of very high value and farmers are encouraged to adopt cage pen based aquaculture because the region has a big potential. The region should start breeding programme by training farmers on best fish farming technology.
The farmers are advised to contact the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI) for technical guidance on how to get cages. 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. For quite a long time, the contribution from the fisheries sector has remained minimal contributing to only 1.71 per cent of the nation’s GDP. The typical individual in the world should consume 20.5 kilogrammes of fish per year, but in Tanzania, the average person consumes only 8.5 kg,” he said.
He appealed to wananchi to utilise to the opportunity by joining hands to start cage fish farming, saying the business is very lucrative.
Fish as a major source of food and protein, is in high demand, and the price of fish and fish-related products is fast rising in tandem with population expansion therefore aquaculture is the solution’, he said.
Elaborating, he said Kagera Region was chosen as a pilot area where cage farming would be implemented before the programme is expanded to other areas. He commended wananchi for allocating enough land at Kyamalange village in Bukoba Rural’s Rubafu Ward, where cage fish farming activities will be conducted on pilot basis.
The Lake Victoria fishery contributes immensely to the socio-economic development of the riparian states. The East African Community (EAC), has designated the lake basin as an ‘economic growth zone’, with the potential to develop into a major economic region.
The fisheries are vital in creating employment opportunities, mostly rural-based, thereby helping to reduce rural-urban migration. Fish is also a rich source of animal protein for human consumption and provides raw material (fish-meal) for processing animal feeds.
The fish industry contributes to GDP and has continued to be an important source of foreign exchange earned from fish exports. Besides, the fish industry contributes to the national and local government revenues through levying of various taxes, levies and license fees.
Tanzania is rich with many lakes including Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa and abundant satellite lakes and rivers. Kagera Region had been chosen as a pilot area where cage fish farming would be implemented before the program was expanded to other areas.
The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Sciences and Technology will spearhead research on aquatic creatures and will soon open a campus in Bukoba Municipal Council.