Fish farming has become one of the most lucrative businesses around Uganda. There are different types of fish that can be reared and they include the Nile perch, Tilapia and catfish and they this can be done either on small scale or large scale. Fish farming has also reduced illegal fishing on the lakes of Uganda and has also increased the government’s revenues.
When starting up any business, there are a few things one needs to set up that specific business and this goes for the fish farming business and some of the things needed to start fish farming are listed below.
The capital needed
The first thing to consider before starting a fish farm is the capital at hand. This automatically determines the size of fish ponds that you are to construct, the number of fish you are to start with, the food to be purchased and the labor to be used to take care of the fish. The cost of fish varies per supplier.
You need to get land
Land can be got anywhere as long as you can construct ponds on it. An acre would be good since it will harbor more than three ponds and the more the ponds the larger the number of fish you can rear. After acquiring land the next step is to construct the ponds
Construction of the fish ponds
This will need an expert when you start construction and you can either ask for help from another fish farmer about the specifications of the pond or hire an engineer and a plumber. The pond should have proper drainage or else the fish will die with a poor drainage system and you will also need a net that will cover the fish pond to prevent predators from attacking the fish and this will cost you almost 300,000 shillings only.
It should be noted that the pond will need a lot of preparation especially before placing the fish in it and the farmer can use the guidelines below to prepare the fish pond well.
- If you are re using the same pond, then drain the water that is in it and let it dry for 14 days.
- Make sure you apply agricultural limestone at the bottom of the fish pond.
- Apply manure as an organic fertilizer like cattle, rabbit and poultry manure in the pond before filling it with water.
- After applying the manure, fill the pond with fresh clean water which is not treated with chemicals.
- Then lastly fill the pond with UREA and DAP as inorganic fertilizers in the pond after filling it with water. UREA can be filled on a weekly basis at 30 tablespoons per 1oo meters squared and DAP at 15 teaspoons per 100 square meters squared.
Get an overhead tank
The overhead tank needs to be connected through plumbing to the ponds for supply of the water. It’s a reservoir of water for the ponds and the water flows into the ponds when the need arises.
Construct a borehole nearby
A borehole will be needed if you are to start fish farming. The borehole provides clean fresh water from underground which is the safest water for the fish to live in as chemically treated water from the taps is not recommended for fish farming.
You should note that if the inflow of the water though the plumbing is too low, the water will have oxygen depletion and will have a lot of toxins leading to the high mortality of the fish.
Before you start fish farming, you need to first undergo training to get familiar with the numerous types of fish you can rear, the trade of fish, the way you can feed and take care of them and other things you need to know about the fish farming business. Training is important because this is a risky venture and you need to avoid mistakes where necessary.
Purchase young fish for your farm
There are different farms in Uganda that specialize in supplying the young fish also known as fingerlings and it is recommended that you get yours from such places. The best fish species to get are the Tilapia and catfish since they reproduce easily and these can boost your farm in the long run.
The fish feeds
The commonly used feeds on fish farms are floating pellets, dry skin pellets, crumbles and meals. These have four fixtures that they must follow and these include
- A fixed feeding location for the fish, the fish should be fed from the same place and not everywhere around the pond.
- A fixed feeding time that is the fish should be fed between 10 am and 4 pm when the fish is most active and the oxygen levels have dissolved
- A fixed feeding quality, the quality of the feeds given to the fish should not change and it should be of high quality in order to get good quality fish.
- A fixed feeding quantity for the fish, the quantity fed to the fish should remain constant and should not change.
The types of fish that can be reared
There are different types of fish that can be reared and the most common fish include the following
The tilapia fish
The Tilapia is the most common fish on the Ugandan market and it stays in shallow clean fresh water and it is good for business since it grows fast that is attains maturity sexually at two months leading to rapid reproduction.
The Trout grows in relatively cold areas and it can be reared in highland areas. It is not common now days on the market because of the unavailability of the good quality feeds in Uganda and the seeds but it is also good for fish farming.
This is so easy to cultivate and that’s why if you are planning to start fish farming it is the best because it is easy to cultivate since it matures at two years and it might not be the most desired on the market but the easiness of cultivation makes it desirable.
The Nile perch
A mature tilapia is of about 121 to 137 cm long and if you are to use it on your farm, then you should put it in its own pond because of its large nature and it’s a predator and can feed on the other fish if placed in the same pond.
Benefits of fish farming in Uganda
It is an income generating source for the farmer from the earnings they get from selling the fish.
Fish is highly rich in protein and fish farming helps in matching the high demand for protein on the Ugandan market.
It reduces the unemployment rates since labor has to be hired in order to take care of the fish in the pond.
Fish farming does not in any way degrade the environment that is other aquatic life can live there hence preserving wetlands and preserving the environment.
Fish faring does not require a lot resources to start and it can also be done on a small scale basis.
Fish is eaten by almost half the population in the country as food. Fish farming has increased the number of fish sold on the market.
The risks involved in fish farming in Uganda
The fish sold from the fish farms is too expensive due to the cost of production and it competes with that from the lakes which is cheap, this might cause a loss as Ugandans prefer the cheap fish to the expensive one.
Fish is widely known to be very sensitive and any slight mistake made will lead to a high mortality rate of the fish. Therefor you must be very careful while rearing the fish.
Setting up the farm and maintaining the ponds can be very expensive compared to other farms like poultry and yet the profits need patience. So if you are setting up a fish farm, you need to be patient with everything you do on a fish farm
Compared to other farms where you can get other by products like manure, when you start fish farming be sure that the only thing you will get is fish and only if they are well taken care of.
In conclusion, there is no business that is started that does not have risks but the best thing to do is to look at the bright side and concentrate on the benefits and you will enjoy profits in the long run from fish farming.
Ask for advice from fellow farmers who are into fish farming and find out how they maintain their farms and also understand the trade process of how fish is transport and its market. Read through the above and you will reap big fro fish farming in Uganda.