RWANDA - Farmers decry lack of quality, affordable fish feeds

Fish farmers across Rwanda have raised concerns over lack of quality and affordable feed, which they say is affecting fish production in the country. Currently, Rwanda\'s three large and four small fish feed factories are not able to supply enough feed to meet the demand of 400 tonnes of feed per day. One feed manufacturer explained that the high costs of electricity and raw materials do not allow the factory to produce at its capacity.
July 19, 2018

Fish farmers across the country have raised concerns over lack of quality and affordable feed which they say is affecting fish productivity in the country.

Fish production stood at about 29, 000 tonnes last year with the target to reach over 31,600 tonnes this year, according to officials from the Ministry of Agriculture.

According to Mathilde Mukasekuru, a fish farming specialist at the Ministry of Agriculture, “we are going to conduct a survey of all fish farmers, know what they do, their production and their challenges. We have realized that there is still few fish feed factories. Only three big factories and four smaller ones that are producing less than what fish farmers need and that is why they prefer to import feeds some of which are of poor quality.”

Estimates show that a Rwamagana District based factory produces one tonne of feeds per day, another at the Special Economic Zone has capacity to produce 4 tonne per day while the one based in Huye District has capacity of 4 tonnes per day. However this is not adequate, leading to importation of feeds, she said.

Across the country, figures show that about 400 tonnes of feed are required every day.

According to Bart Gasana, the Managing Director of Aquahort Exports Ltd, based at the Kigali Special Economic Zone, the price of fish feeds is still high due to the high cost of electricity tariffs and raw materials.

The factory has capacity to produce between 80 tonnes and 100 tonnes per month.

“High cost of electricity prevents us from manufacturing all hours,\" he said.

He explained that, besides the high cost of electricity, raw materials are so costly which leads to sell fish feeds at high prices.

“To make fish feeds, we need cereal grains such as maize and soya. However, soya grains are quite expensive as the lowest price is Rwf400 per kilogramme.  Rwanda produces little quantity of soya which forces us to import.   Other fish meal  such as ‘Indagara’, that are part of making fish feeds, are  very expensive  with Rwf1,400 per kg yet they do not exist in Rwanda while the species that exist in Rwanda cost Rwf1,500 per kg,” he said.

Source: The New Times // Original Article