The government of Tanzania has finalized plans to introduce cage fish farming in the Kagera region in efforts to increase revenue from fisheries resources, it has been disclosed. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Livestock Development (Fisheries), Dr. Rashid Tamatamah spoke about the completion of the plan during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Kagera Regional leaders, Ministry of Livestock Development, Tanzania Agricultural Catalytic Trust (TACT) and Nelson Mandela African Institution of Sciences and Technology.
“For quite a long time, the contribution from the fisheries sector has remained minimal contributing to only 1,71 percent of the nation’s GDP. President Samia Suluhu Hassan has directed the Ministry of Livestock Development to take bold steps to increase the sector’s contribution to GDP,” he said. Elaborating, he said Tanzania is endowed with vast major water bodies, including lakes such as Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Nyasa and rivers.
Dr. Tamatamah said that the Kagera region was chosen as a pilot area where cage fish farming would be implemented before the programme is expanded to other areas. He explained that the Arusha-based Nelson Mandela African Institution of Sciences and Technology will spearhead research on aquatic creatures and will soon open a campus in Bukoba Municipal Council. “We are delighted that the MoU for the implementation of the project has been finalized. Every one of us should play his/her role to increase revenue from fisheries resources. We have the ability and capacity of doing this,” he said.
He also revealed that the Center for Aquaculture Technology has already been completed located at Lubambangwe village, in Geita Region’s Chato District a project that cost about 3,7bn/- on completion. Tanzania Agricultural Catalytic Trust (TACT) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. John Kyaruzi commended authorities in Kagera Region for allocating enough land at Kyamalange village in Bukoba Rural’s Rubafu Ward, where cage fish farming activities will be conducted on pilot basis. TACT will finance the program.
Kagera Regional Commissioner (RC), Maj. Gen. Charles Mbuge, on his part, hailed TACT and Nelson Mandela African Institution of Sciences and Technology, saying it was a milestone in the region’s development. He appealed to Wananchi to utilize to the maximum the opportunity by joining hands to start cage fish farming, saying the business was very lucrative. Meanwhile, Jahazi East Africa Company Ltd has pledged to inject about 26 million US Dollars (about 54bn/-) in the cage fish farming project.
Jahazi East Africa Co Ltd Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Leonard Sylvanus said the company was well prepared to find suitable markets for fisheries resources once the project starts operation. The Lake Victoria fishery contributes immensely to the socio-economic development of the riparian states. The East African Community (EAC) has designated the lake basin as an ‘economic growth zone’, with the potential to develop into a major economic region.
The fisheries are vital in creating employment opportunities, mostly rural-based, thereby helping to reduce rural-urban migration. Fish is also a rich source of animal protein for human consumption and provides raw material (fish-meal) for processing animal feeds. The fish industry contributes to GDP and has continued to be an important source of foreign exchange earned from fish exports. Besides, the fish industry contributes to the national and local government revenues through levying various taxes, levies, and license fees.
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