Fish farmers have called for new interventions to help address the numerous challenges affecting the sector’s development and growth potential. The farmers say lack of quality feeds and high prices are holding back the sector’s potential and hurting their businesses.
Jérome Musemandera, a representative of fish farmers group in Karongi District, said there is also need for construction of good fish ponds and boosting the capacity of farmers and fisheries officials to be able to improve the fisheries industry.
Farmers added that they lack financial capacity to compete with their counterparts in the region.
“It is always difficult. For instance, if I target to produce three tonnes of fish monthly, this will require more investment because I use floating cages. This problem is compounded by reluctance by banks to fund agriculture projects,” Musemandera said in an interview with Business Times on the sidelines of a workshop on quality fish feeds in Kigali last week.
He added that farmers buy fish feeds at between $1 and $2.5 a kilogramme (Rwf843 and Rwf2,107). Some of the feeds are imported from Israel and EAC countries.
Musemandera called for interventions to help bring down the price of quality fish feeds to about $1.5 to “facilitate farmers and support growth of the country’s aquaculture industry.
“There is a problem of lack of quality fish feeds, but we are seeking ways to partner with the private sector and individuals to address the issue.
“We are also working with farmers to increase fish production in the country,” said Dr Wilson Rutaganira, the aquaculture and fisheries programme co-ordinator at Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB).
He said this will improve production in next five years and satisfy growing demand. Next year, the government targets to invest Rwf800 million in the aquaculture sector, and also support building of facilities to produce quality feeds, and new technologies to boost the sector.
Source: The New Times // Original Article