A FALL in water levels across the country and the closure of two processing plants dented Ugandaâ€™s fish export earnings, which dropped to $136.8m (about sh240b) from $142m the previous year.
A FALL in water levels across the country and the closure of two processing plants dented Ugandaâ€™s fish export earnings, which dropped to $136.8m (about sh240b) from $142m the previous year, official figures show.
â€œThis affected the breeding process of the Nile perch. Breeding takes place when the water levels are high and in fresh waters,â€ Nsimbe Bulega, the assistant fisheries commissioner, explained.
The Nile perch is the much sought after fish species and accounts for 95% of the fish export earnings. Bulega disclosed that the sector exported 32,855.47 metric tonnes of fish last year compared to 35,000 tonnes in 2005.
This was 214,453 tonnes less that the previous year.
â€œThe prices were better last year compared to the previous year due to low supply. The volumes of captured fish went down. Sustaining production is the biggest challenge we are faced with now,â€ Bulega said.
The freight on board prices for frozen and chilled fillets stood at $4.1/kg on average.
â€œThe fishing industry can only improve if the fishermen start looking at it as a business. The need to teach the fishermen better fishing techniques is also inevitable,â€ Bulega advised.
â€œWe do not hope to keep this upward trend; we are exploiting a natural resource in an abusive manner and can be depleted.
â€œThe drop in raw materials has brought competition and has also pushed the stakeholders to other lakes,â€ he added.
Uganda's fish export value drops