Wednesday March 12 2014

Nakasongola fish plant lies idle

By Dan Wandera


A multi-billion ice plant designed to improve fish handling and promote the fishing industry in Nakasongola District is lying idle, five years after construction.

In 2009, the government, through the African Development Bank, embarked on the construction project for an ice production plant to facilitate production and handling of fish for export but the project has never been operational.
District officials are now seeking answers as to why the project has never been prioritised by the government yet fish dealers continue losing fish due to poor storage.

“We have never got a clear explanation as to why this project has stalled for the last five years. Fish dealers and farmers have to transport ice for a long distance where they lose about 50 per cent of the ice because of the long distance from Kampala to Nakasongola landing sites,” Mr James Muruli Wandira, the district chairperson, told the Daily Monitor on Monday.

When contacted, state minister for Fisheries Ruth Nankabirwa said they have already instructed the permanent secretary to carry out a value for money audit and promised to follow up the matter.

Nakasongola supplies about 1.3 million kg of fish every three months, with tilapia, Nile perch and propterus as the biggest species caught on Lake Kyoga, according to the district fisheries office.