Fish farming makes good money if everything is done properly. Fish has got good market, too, especially now that there is big security control over fish in the lakes.
There are mainly two ways of practising fish farming in Uganda. The main one is the use of excavated ponds of varying sizes, while the second one is fish cage farming, which is practiced on lakes and larger water dams. Tank fish farming is also gradually coming up.
The money economics
In just one pond of 20×40 feet, a farmer can stock as many as 4,000 fish. This needs at least sh4m to construct and about sh1.2m to stock. To grow each fish to about 1kg in eight months, it feeds on at least sh4,500 each.
Maintenance of the ponds is minimal, at sh1m throughout. Each fish on harvest at eight months goes for an average sh10,000, which gives a gross yield of about sh40m.
The biggest buyers of Uganda’s farmed fish are Congolese, who come with trucks and load it off, however, retail dealers from local markets also buy it.
A pond is a depression on the ground, where water can be retained. It should have conditions, like a permanent source of water, the types of soils should have some form of clay because clay holds water more than any other form of soil.
The topography should offer the gravitation flow of water into and outside the pond because fish uses a lot of water and if the water is stagnant the production system will be affected. The pond should have a depth of 1metre towards the inlet and 1.2 metres towards the outlet.
After ascertaining that the site has got all the requirements of a good fish pond, then the excavation starts. There are two ways of digging a pond. Farmers with the means hire tractors to excavate the ponds.
The average cost of using a tractor to construct a 20x40metre pond is sh5m. A tractor takes a shorter time to accomplish the job, compared to manual labour. However, with manual labour, it A can cost as low as sh2-3m, but takes longer to complete.
The pond must be rectangular because that makes it easy to maintain, especially when guarding it against silting. It is also easy to harvest fish from a rectangular pond than from a pond of any other shape because you can easily sweep through all the corners.
If several ponds are constructed, they should be parallel to each other, with water inlets on one side and water outlets on the other side.
The trick is, no pond should receive water from the other pond because this can easily increase incidences of diseases.
The pond must be rectangular for easy maintenance
Compiled by Joshua Kato (editor, Harvest Money)