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Home News NaFIRRI Finds Alternative For ‘Mukene’ In Fish Feeds

NaFIRRI Finds Alternative For ‘Mukene’ In Fish Feeds

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Tom Gwebayanga

One of the key ingredients for manufacturing fish and animal feeds is silverfish (mukene). Statistics show that 70% of the mukene catch in Uganda goes into the manufacture of fish and animal feeds.

There is a high demand on the world market for Uganda’s silverfish according to Joyce Akumu, a research scientist at National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFIRRI).

However, its catch has been dwindling, which led scientists at NaFIRRI to come up with an alternative, spirulina, in the manufacture of animal feeds.

Locally called enkonge, spirulina is a green alga that grows in both salty and fresh water, appearing on most of Uganda’s water bodies.

The principal investigator, Dr Fred Wanda, said the project, now in its second year, seeks to reverse the trend so that 70% of the catch is reserved for human consumption and 30% for fish/animal feeds.

“Our major objective is to convert waste (algae) to wealth. Spirulina has both economic and environmental benefits,” Wanda, a senior research scientist at NaFIRRI, said.

He said sections of the lake are under stress due to pollution and of algae which affects fish multiplication and growth, leading scarcity and high prices. The project is being funded by the Government to a tune of sh479m.

However, Wanda expressed fears due to inconsistency in funding, revealing that for the past year, only sh33m which is meant for one quarter, was availed.

NaFIRRI is working in collaboration with National Agricultural Research Laboratories, BIDCO Uganda Limited and National Water and Sewerage Corporation.

Removing alga

Justifying the need to remove the algae from water sources and turning it into feed, Dr Mark Olokotum at NaFIRRI said spirulina affects its oxygen concentration in water.

Fish cannot survive this leading to low harvests and small income for fishermen. Therefore, the sector must be protected.

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