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NGO to train farmers from EA countries on cage farming

NATIONAL
By Mireri Junior | June 19th 2021

The Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation (LVFO) deputy executive secretary Anthony Munyaho addresses trainers of trainers (ToTs) during the conclusion of their training in a Homa Bay hotel. [James Omoro, Standard]

An East African Community organisation will train farmers from four countries on sustainable cage farming to boost diminishing fish supply from Lake Victoria.

Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation (LVFO) has rolled out the programme which will see farmers from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi on the best cage farming practices.

 LVFO, a Jinja-based organisation, on Thursday, June 17 trained four trainers of trainers (ToTs) from each country before rolling out the programme.

Each of the four ToTs is expected to train a minimum of 10 trainers in their country who will train farmers to implement the practices.

The four-day training conducted in Homa Bay town was presided over by the LVFO Deputy Executive Secretary Anthony Munyaho, Kenya Fisheries Service Assistant Director Christine Etiegni, Tanzania’s Director of Aquaculture in the Ministry of Fisheries Nazael Madalla, Uganda’s Assistant Commissioner in charge of Aquaculture Alio Andrew and Burundi’s Directorate of Livestock in the Ministry of Agriculture Desire Irutimana.

Munyaho said their objective is to promote cage farming in a manner that is sustainable.

He said the human population in East African community member states had increased and outweighed the quantity of fish produced from Lake Victoria and other water bodies.

Population growth

The population growth has culminated in more demand for fish than the supply.

The population growth has culminated in more demand for fish than the supply.

Munyaho said cage farming is the only way to address the fish shortage in East Africa.

 “Lake Victoria has been the main source of fish in East Africa but the wild fish alone can no longer serve our growing population. This means we have to invest in sustainable cage fish farming,” said Munyaho.

Fish farming should be done in a manner that keeps Lake Victoria and other water bodies free from pollution.

“One of the key areas is the use of suitable fish feeds which cannot cause pollution in the lake,” he added.

Ms Etiegni said Kenya has 5300 cages in her Lake Victoria.

She said her department is implementing the requisite regulations for protecting Lake Victoria from harmful practices which may endanger its ecosystem.

“We also have to protect fish breeding areas which have been demarcated in Lake Vitoria. We are implementing cage fish farming regulations to prevent conflict in the lake,” said Etiegni.

Madalla said his government is improving cage fish farming from the current 500 cages.

Challenges

He said the Tanzanian government is ready to set aside some seed money for promoting cage fish farming in Lake Victoria.

“We are removing VAT on fish feeds to make imports affordable to farmers. We are educating cage fish farmers to embrace the practice in Lake Victoria,” said Madalla.

Andrew said they are supporting their local feed producers to encourage farming in their country.

“The most expensive aspect of cage fish farming is buying feeds. Over 80 per cent of our feeds are imported but we supporting local feed producers to reduce expenses involved in cage fish farming,” said Andrew.

Irutimana said the training will equip farmers in his country with knowledge on cage fish farming.

“We have less than 10 cages but the training will enable us to know how to undertake the farming in Lake Tanganyika,” said Irutimana.

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