Government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (FAO) have launched a technical corporation project aimed at helping vulnerable youths and women in fishing communities around Lake Victoria to improve fisheries and alternative livelihood activities.
The project dubbed ‘Integrated Livelihood Support to Fishing Communities around Lake Victoria’ targets vulnerable women and youths in districts of Masaka, Kalangala and Kalungu that were affected by the recent crackdown on illegal fishing by government, leaving most of them unemployed.
With funding from FAO of about US $277,000 (Shs1.02b), the project, which run up to June 2020 is expected help in capacity development of the beneficiaries and also contribute to improved alternative livelihood and food security among the fishing communities around Lake Victoria.
Agriculture Minister, Bamulangaki Sempijja said the project was just a catalyst for a bigger government policy to improve the fishing sector by making it a sustainable business activity that produces quantity and quality fish for both local and international market.
“As government, we are still focusing on agriculture to help majority Ugandans get out of poverty. With this project, we are going to sensitive and train the youths and women fishers in modern fishing methods and post-harvest handling so that they can improve the quality of the fishery resources and hence earn more money” he said.
The FAO Representative in Uganda, Dr Antonio Querido said the project will among other things help in capacity development to enable beneficiaries implement alternative livelihood options that promote sustainability of the Fisheries resources, raise awareness on code of conduct for responsible fishing adapted to Uganda laws, responsible aquaculture practices and doing fishing as a business.
“Together with the Ministry of Agriculture, we will continue to work to increase food security and nutrition and ensure a sustainable Fisheries and aquaculture production” he said.
Geoffrey Dheyongera, the FAO project from Ministry of Agriculture said the money will be used to support legal Fisheries, other alternative non fishing activities and also put in place demonstration sites for the beneficiaries.
“This is just a seed project. The money might be small but it will set the right precedent for a sustainable Fishing sector for fishing communities around Lake Victoria and the rest of Uganda” Ndeyongera said.
Uganda’s Fisheries and aquaculture contributes up to 3% of the national GDP, with Lake Victoria alone accounting for 60% of the country’s fish production.