FISH export earnings for the first half of the year have dropped by $7.9m (about sh12.7b) to $61m from $69m during the same period last year, the fisheries department has said.
FISH export earnings for the first half of the year have dropped by $7.9m (about sh12.7b) to $61m from $69m during the same period last year, the fisheries department has said. The assistant commissioner for fisheries, Nsimbe Bulega, said the slump was due to the volatile shilling, the closure of two fish processing plants and stiff competition for raw materials at the landing sites.
â€œSome of our members have closed due to high production costs and a volatile shilling. The competition for raw materials at the landing sites is also solid and local processors are losing to their Kenyan counterparts who offer better prices,â€ Bulega explained.
Gomba Fishing Company, the biggest processing plant owned by the Mukwano Group, closed due to high production costs while Uganda Marine Products was gutted by fire.
Bulega added that this yearâ€™s freight on board (FOB) prices had tumbled to $3.9/kg from between $5 and $4.2/kg last year due to low demand.
A total of 14,933.24 metric tonnes of fish were exported between January and June this year, while 15,870.26 tonnes were exported during the same period last year.
Compared to the same period last year, this yearâ€™s export volumes fell by 937.02 tonnes. He said competition for the Nile Perch is so high that it has mounted much pressure on the species. The average size of fish caught now is smaller due to the pressure.
Monthly exports are bound to drop as the months of June, July and August are referred to as lean months because of the dry spells experienced.
â€œThe need to embrace fish farming is inevitable especially when you look at the White Nile Perchâ€™s dwindling stocks amidst high demand. Fish exports cannot be sustained without engaging in commercial aquaculture,â€ Bulega recommended.
He warned that deforestation and massive encroachment on the lakesâ€™ catchment areas was depositing a lot of silt in the lake, threatening its eco-system.
Fish exports fall by sh12b