OYAM – Livestock and grain farmers in Oyam district are looking at fish farming as a safety net against the increasingly erratic weather patterns, which have resulted in crop failure and animal deaths due to drought.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), fish and related products contribute to food security through consumption, jobs creation, income and trade.
However, the farmers have complained that the feeds on the market are sub-standard and lead to stunted growth, affecting the profitability of the business.
The dealers have decried an increase in counterfeit feeds on the market, calling upon the government to intervene in the production of feeds.
In the past months, dealers in agro-inputs, especially fish feeds flocked markets in Oyam district, opening shops at various trading centers.
Solomon Odwee, a one of the farmers from Ogang Apur parish in Acaba Sub County lost nearly Shs 4 million after purchasing counterfeit feeds which killed almost all the fish in the pond.
“It is very difficult to differentiate the genuine feeds from the fake ones because most of the companies supplying the feeds bear the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) logo, this requires the intervention of extension officers in educating the farmers.” he said.
Joseph Alyai, a fish farmer in Iceme sub-county who doubles as the chairperson Oyam North Fishery Group blames the fish farmers for buying their feeds from dealers who have no idea about fish farming.
“I am currently buying feeds from Tororo; the problem is that many fish farmers prefer cheaper feeds which are sold by dealers who have no idea about fishing. I want to advise farmers to form groups in order to be able to purchase quality feeds,” he said in an interview.
Alex Enon, the Assistant District Commercial Officer says that his office has received several complaints from farmers about the quality of feeds. He blames the farmers for buying feeds from unlicensed retailers who sell counterfeit products.
Fish feeds contain soya bean meal, silverfish, rice bran, fish meal, earthworms, spirulina, and vitamins and minerals. These are mixed accordingly in certain percentages with protein foodstuffs highest at 30%.
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