Wednesday March 16 2016

Fish conference to focus on women, youth

A fish market at a landing site in Ggaba near

A fish market at a landing site in Ggaba near Kampala. File photo 

By Brian Ssenoga

A number of studies about Uganda’s fisheries sector show positive trends in the export of fish and foreign exchange earnings. But it is a long road ahead before the sector can enjoy a substantial share of the GDP as coffee, tea and tourism do.
Therefore, in a bid to improve trade, product quality, incomes and innovations, the Women Fish Network Uganda—an organisation of about 140 women fish farmers, processors, traders and scientists—will hold a regional conference next month.
In an interview with Daily Monitor, Elizabeth Sempebwa, the chairperson who is also the proprietor of Kiteezi mixed farm, said the focus will be on the theme—Championing women and youth innovations in transforming the fisheries sector—and highlight a number of innovations, markets and quality issues.
She added: “Uganda’s fish has market but the players who are mostly women do not benefit because something is amiss along the value chain. We are unaware of the market and even innovations by scientists in the fisheries sector. So, we will address all that”
The three-day conference, will be held from April 6-8 at National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFFRI) in Kajjansi. It will include field visits to selected fish farmers and processors.
Noteworthy is that this comes at a time when Uganda’s fish exports are declining in terms of volumes.
The October 2015 statistical abstract from Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) indicates 17,597 tonnes of fish were exported in 2014, a drop from 20,087 tonnes in 2013. However, the figures were better in terms of value—$134.7m in 2014, up from $126.7m in 2013. This boosted the sector’s contribution to GDP: Six per cent in 2014 compared to 5.3 per cent in 2013 although the 2010 figure was 7.9 per cent.
“The fish industry will need to do more to surpass competitors like the coffee sector whose percentage of GDP was 18 per cent by the end of 2014,” noted Dr John Walakira, a fisheries scientist at NaFFRI.

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