Opinion
Illegal fishing a glaring hole in national budget
Publish Date: Jun 13, 2014
newvision
  • mail
  • img

By Solomon Kalema Musisi

While funds allocated annually to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries are seemingly colossal, with an additional sh9.2b to the sh394.4b specifically for enforcement of fishing regulations and standards in the 2013/14 Financial Year budget, the allocation is only “a drop in the sea” and not sufficient to make the work of the ministry, specifically in the fisheries operations visible and tangible.

Globally, illegal fishing activities cause financial losses of $10-23.5b annually and Uganda, as a country, loses close to sh300b every year in illegal fishing activities on Lake Victoria despite the Government’s continued input in preventing the outstanding loss in a product that, according to the Ministry of Finance statistics, represents 60% of government revenue and provides up 50% of animal protein for Ugandan households.
 

The world’s second largest fresh water lake requires more support through initiatives such as the “Clean Fish, Better Life Campaign” launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 2013 by the Country Representative Alhaji Momodu as a mass sensitisation campaign and further cooperation of the Ministry and the Police Department to avert the detrimental effects of the sector vices due to which the fish species face extinction.
 

Uganda also requires increased input of funds towards quality control and programmes aimed at imparting post harvest handling skills to fishermen and all fish value chain players in the Ugandan market to greatly reduce the post harvest losses due to over packing, use of rusty equipment, transportation in vehicles that carry other items and the sale under fly-infested market conditions.
 

Further capacity building is required to inform the masses of the risks paused globally and nationally by the climate change and how to protect the Fresh Tilapia, Nile Perch, Small Fish, among other species from extinction through undertaking adaptive measures.
 

In borrowing from a Chinese Proverb, “A single conversation with a wise man is better than 10 years of study,” Uganda needs more shared initiatives with the leading exporters of fish on the world market in addition to the existing research in the various institutions in and around the country.
 

Despite hosting 20% of the world’s population against only 7% fresh water resource China, where the proverb originates from, is the leading exporter of fish worldwide and therefore more funding is needed to increase diplomatic interactions and investments with China in addition to the sh12.8b three year pilot cage fish farming project under the Uganda-China Friendship Agriculture Technology Centre in the 90’s.
 

Monitoring of the swamps, rivers and lakes requires a lot more resources as new sites are opened up daily and fishermen take advantage of the lag to carry out illegal fishing activities in these areas.
 

The benefits of concentration on full value chain development and value addition for coffee as an agricultural export product under initiatives such as the Uganda Coffee Development Authority, UCDA and the National Union for Coffee and Agribusiness Farm Enterprises, NUCAFE are evident in the increased returns on coffee exports from the country and a similar approach would therefore avail results of such a positive trend in fisheries exports.
 

I commend the efforts of the State Minister for Fisheries, Ruth Nankabirwa in this regard including the most recent initiative to introduce a system of boat number plates at the beach management units in the Country and an aquaculture park in the country.
 

To join other developing countries in surpassing the 53% by value and 60% by quantity share they contribute to the global market fisheries exports, Uganda requires a fortified strategy and protective action plan which present the need for increased budgetary allocation to the Fisheries section of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.
 

The writer is the national chairperson for the founder committee of the Pan African Agricultural Students Society

 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Will the NDP II take stock of disability issues and needs?
Uganda has adopted a series of National Development Programs with a vision of transforming the economy from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country....
Modern agriculture key to empowerment
Priority interventions need to focus more on increasing production and productivity, agro-processing and increase enterprise efficiency....
Foreigners disappointed with SA’s new immigration system
The change in South African immigration law and permit processing system has left many foreigners in the country disappointed....
If MPs are indebted, how about me?
The media has recently been awash with news of how majority MPs have secured loans worth billions, that they have failed to clear and many risk being arrested....
Of sharks, wolves and the mafia
Being a civil servant is not for the faint-hearted and a politician more so....
Should Britain return the artifacts allegedly stolen from Bunyoro in the 1890s?
Recently, the media both local and international has been awash with claims by Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom demanding for the repatriation of her properties allegedly stolen by the British colonial masters....
Do you think banning the sale of single cigarette sticks will help regulate tobacco production?
yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter