Business
Nakawa fish vendors demand ice plantPublish Date: Mar 27, 2014
Nakawa fish vendors demand ice plant
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A fishmonger waiting for customers at Nakawa Market. Photo by Moses Kimera
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By Joyce Namutebi,Shamim Saad and Brenda Nakayiwa

Fish storage is one of the major challenges denying the country endowed by nature to enjoy its main aquatic food. Given the perishable and seasonal nature of fish, its storage and preservation still remains a challenge to vendors in the markets.
 
 They have appealed to the Government to put up an ice plant where they can buy affordable ice to use in their coolers.

Nakawa market fish vendors say   they resort to using improvised coolers to preserve their fish because they cannot afford to buy refrigerators.

 

 Vendors’ dilemma
“There is a nearby ice plant but sometimes when we go there, we find no ice. They don’t even work on public holidays and preserving our fish becomes a problem,” said Sula Mulo, the chairman Nakawa market fish department.
 
He also noted that although fisher men put the fish in ice as soon as its caught, once it leaves for the market, it is easily affected by heat.
 
Mulo explained further that the situation worsens when fish is brought to the market and there’s no ice to preserve it before customers buy it off.
 
Josephine Achieng, a fish vendor who has been in the business for about 13 years explained that most of them cannot afford to buy fridges because they have many other demands to meet.
 


Josephine Achieng talking to the New Vision reporter  on pressing issues in fish business
Photo by Moses Kimera

Call to government
“Government should build an ice plant for us because preserving fish is very expensive. The Money you would earn as profit is instead used to buy ice,” she said.
 
Achieng also asked the Government to reduce on the cost of electricity so that ice makers reduce its cost.
 
“The ice makers always complain of electricity being very expensive,” she said.
 


Audio recorded by Ruth Faith Naknwagi and edited by Moses Kimera

Cost of ice
A 50 kg bag of ice, she said, costs between Sh12, 000 and Sh14,000 and if the fish is a lot, this ice only works for a night.
 
She also observed that sometimes the ice melts before use and this jeopardises their businesses.
 
Fish sources
Most of the fish in Nakawa market come from Kiyindi, Katosi and Peya Islands of Lake Victoria.
 

There’s scarcity of fish as reflected on one of  stalls . Photo by Moses Kimera

Scarcity
Frank Birirwa, who has been in the business of fish transportation for about 15 years expressed concern about the current scarcity of fish, which he attributed to weather changes.
 
“For about three weeks, there has been little fish brought onto the market because fishermen fear to venture into the lake when it’s stormy,” Birirwa said as he pointed towards empty fish stalls.
 
He explained that on a good day he can bring in a pick-up full of fish, but now he only brings in about 60 fish.
 
Achieng also expressed concern about the current scarcity of fish and low sales.

 
Weather implications

“Fish is a seasonal business, it depends on weather. If the weather is good, we get plenty but when it becomes stormy, fishermen fear capsizing,” she explained
 
 Acheing also noted that if there is moonlight, the fish run away when fishermen cast their nets and if there is too much sunshine, the fish goes deep down in the waters.

 
  With proper storage, Fish can remain fresh for reasonably a long time. Photo by Moses Kimera

Hygiene
 According to Mulo, the chairman, each vendor pays sh9,100 to Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA ) in tax but claimed that the authority does not clean the place.

However, he is grateful that KCCA has provided garbage skip near by.

RELATED STORIES

Alien water weed invades Lake Kyoga Publish Date: Mar 27, 2014
EAC losing battle against illegal fishing Publish Date: Dec 18, 2013
First signs of recovery for Lake Victoria fish Publish Date: Nov 08, 2013
Fish farmers decry fake fish feeds on the market Publish Date: Jan 29, 2013
Police deploy at Nakawa market Publish Date: Jul 20, 2011

 Video by Agnes Bulega and Moses Walugembe

 

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