Instead of talk of creation of new districts which is now cheap politicking, it will make a lot of sense if 'miraculously' Candidate Museveni wins the 2016 Presidential election to concentrate on projects that can bail the Uganda Shilling, for example implementing "Practical Training in Integrated Commercial Fish Farming", and funding it, this against the background that Fish farming can viably be done in a number of places in Uganda.
If the latest fish catch assessment survey is anything to go by, the fishing industry in Uganda faces a bleak future. It shows that there has been a gradual increase in fish stocks especially the Nile Perch since 2011, but this increase is due to a surge in catching of immature fish. Up to 2014, an increase has been noted of 1.23 million tonnes of juvenile fish in the latest stock assessment survey of 2014.
The biomass of smaller fish (Haplochromines) and other species also declined from 439,000 to 380,000 tonnes over the same period. Just a paltry 5.9% of the biomass of this lot was above the low limit of slot size of 50cm (total length).
The survey was conducted jointly by the three partner States of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Joyce Nyeko, an official of the Department of Fisheries Resources, told The Independent that the Catch Assessment Survey showed an increase in Nile Perch “but these were immature so some factories are closing down.” “The challenge therefore is to boost the biomass by allowing more fish to grow bigger sizes, which is to allow them to reproduce before they are caught,” she added.This is definitely not good news for the fishing sector, which has for years been feeding local, regional markets and international markets.
The European Union - mainly Netherlands and Belgium - account for 75% of fish exports from Uganda. For years, the chilled and frozen Nile Perch was at the centre of the brisk fishing business. Sadly, this business is on the brink of collapse because it has been supplanted by the raid on the immature fish. To make it worse, the decline in metric tonnes of Nile Perch has also been drastic.
In 2000, there were about one million tonnes of the mature species and that number is now down to less than 350,000. As part of desperate measures to curb trade in immature fish, the Uganda Fish Processors and Exporters Association (UFPEA), the umbrella organization for the fishing industry, mandated a number of independent inspectors to check on all fish processing factories, measure all fish processed and cut back on immature fishing caught but this team of inspectors has met key challenges in their line of duty.
Currently, there is an unprecedented wave of illegal fishing in the country and this can explain the troubles facing the fishing sector. Some measures have been instituted to arrest dealers in immature fish, but the practice goes on as some of the culprits are well-connected politically. The Department of Fisheries Resources based in Entebbe is worried about this trend.
Museveni pledges new districts
By SOLOMON ARINAITWE & DAVID MAFABI
Posted Thursday, December 17 2015 at 02:00
Posted Thursday, December 17 2015 at 02:00
MANAFWA- President Museveni yesterday promised his government will lift the moratorium on the creation of new districts, pledging that there is a “long list” of districts to be created in 2017.
The announcement marks a change of heart by the President who announced a freeze on the creation of new districts in 2013, arguing that they were too expensive to bankroll amid a flurry of demands for the new administrative units around the country.
Campaigning in Bubulo West, Manafwa District, Mr Museveni assured residents, who are demanding a district be carved out of Manafwa and named Namisindwa, that their request will be granted if he secures a fifth term next year.
“There is the issue of Namisidwa District which my late friend [John Waswaka] has been demanding. We are not only talking about Namisindwa but there is a long list [of districts to be created] which I do not have here. After 2017, we will have covered a good direction on roads and electricity and we shall deal with the roads,” he said.
The President indicated that Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda will tomorrow head to Bududa District to get to the bottom of the conflict between residents and the management of Mt Elgon National Park over encroachment on land owned by the park.
Festering tension over encroachment on the park became a full-blown campaign issue after Mr Museveni vowed to have FDC presidential candidate Kizza Besigye arrested and prosecuted over remarks he made on how the dispute should be resolved.
Dr Besigye reportedly said he would allow the local to occupy part of the reserve land. The FDC, however, insists that Dr Besigye never made any such promise.
The recent demand for new districts
Although the President did not specify which districts are to be created, Parliament’s Local Government Committee this year recommended the splitting of Wakiso, Kibaale, Kabale, Arua and Kasese districts.
But government was in July forced to drop a proposal for the creation of 25 new districts after some MPs and civil society activists raised the red flag, warning that this would further skyrocket the cost of public administration.
Local Government minister Adolf Mwesige was quoted warning that the proposal to create 25 new districts would require an additional Shs50b on top of the Shs14b annual budget required for running the proposed new districts.