Kagera residents urged to invest in aquaculture

KAGERA: KAGERA Regional Administrative Secretary, Mr Toba Nguvila, has urged residents here to consider investing in aquaculture and increase the availability of raw materials for the country’s fish processing industries.

Mr Nguvila appealed to wananchi to utilise the opportunity by joining hands to start cage fish farming, saying the business was lucrative.

“For quite a long time, the contribution from the fisheries sector has remained minimal at only 1.71 per cent of the nation’s GDP. The sixth phase government will continue to encourage and set a conducive environment for investors in the country, to fulfill the country’s enormous fish production goals through aquaculture,” he said.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a person should consume at least 20.5 kilogrammes of fish per year, while in Tanzania the average person consumes only 8.5kg.

Elaborating, he said Tanzania is rich with many lakes including Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Nyasa and abundant satellite lakes and rivers.

Mr Nguvila, however, commended local communities in Bukoba Rural District’s Rubafu Ward, who have started cage fish farming.

This follows the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Kagera Regional leaders, Ministry of Livestock Development, Tanzania Agricultural Catalytic Trust (TACT) and Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology.

Kagera Region has been chosen as a pilot area where cage fish farming would be implemented before the programme is expanded to other areas while the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology would spearhead research on aquatic creatures and would soon open a campus in Bukoba Municipal Council.

“We are delighted that the MoU for the implementation of the project has been finalised. Every one of us should play his/her role to increase revenue from fisheries resources. We have the ability and capacity of doing this,” he said.

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 various taxes and licence fees.

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