- The fish farmer, Oreste Ongiera started fish pong with Shs 1.4 million
- In 2015/16, the West Nile Sub-region produced about 11.2 tons of fish
- Statistics indicate that, in 2017, Tilapia fish accounted for about 1.3 tones while cat fish accounted for about 2.5 tons in West Nile
- There are 68 fish ponds totaling about 17,014 sq meters across the West Nile Sub-region
By Okaba Patrick
Nebbi-Some decades ago, fish were mainly got from the Lakes and Rivers unlike of recent where farmers have become innovative to fish from their homes with establishment of ponds.
In Nebbi district the only place where fish were got was in Jonam county in River Nile and Lake Albert in Pakwach district. But this challenges made one of the farmers, Oreste Ongiera, to start fish farming business in Kalwang parish, Nebbi Sub County.
Oreste who is one of the prominent business men in Nebbi municipality and is now abandoning other businesses because of ready profits and less expenditures he is incurring from fish farming business.
Speaking to West Nile Press Online, Oreste said he was inspired in fish farming business due to high demand for fish in the market and scarcity of fish in Lakes and Rivers due to over fishing and poor fishing methods being used.
“I used Shs 1.4 million to start up fish pond that is estimated at the size of 15×30 meters with depth of 2 meters deep from Western side of the pond to 1.5meters of the Eastern side. This has made me pay school fees and cater for other dependants,” he said.
Types of fish at the pond
Currently, Oreste is keeping three basic types of fish in his pond like Tilapia Niloticus (White in color), Tilapia Esculentum (Black in color) and Clarias Garipinus (Cate fish) which take few months to grow and ready for disposal.
The first harvest was made in April 2016 after six months of stocking the fish where he said, he stocked in November 2015 and reaped Shs 1.8 million after deducting all the expenditures he incurred after the first harvest he made.
And the second harvest was made in July, 2016, where he reaped Shs 900,000 due to scarcity of feeds as result high costs of feeds.
Locals who gathered to buy fish harvested from the pond. Photo by Okaba Patrick.
In the 1990s Angara fish used to cost Shs 5,000 but now due to high demand, it costs up to Shs25,000. This makes it un-affordable for many, but still since it is cherished traditionally; people strive to buy it, even the small sized ones at Shs12,000.
Oreste mostly earns his money in Clarias Garipinus (Cate fish) which weighed 4.5 kilograms each and they are sold at Shs 25,000 per fish.
Benefits he got from fish farming
Oreste is using part of the money from fish farming to boost his rice farming where he is targeting to reap over three tones this season and he uses part of the money to pay one his children in agricultural institute.
Oreste says due to financial hardship, he is planning to borrow loans from any financial institutions such that he could dig another fish pond for cat fish separately.
“I have challenge of financial backup to boost my fish farming business due to high cost of feeds. There is problem of transportation and refrigerator to reach his customers outside Nebbi municipality. But I hope with time, I can be able to acquire this,” he said.
Oreste is targeting to borrow 50million shillings to boost his fish farming business and also solve his transport challenges in order widen his sales network.
However one of the fisheries officers Mr Jimmy Berocan said, farmers must embrace fish farming business which has ready market when properly managed.
He adds that the most profitable is Niloticus Tilapia which grows faster within the period of 3 months and also advised farmers to have separate fish pond for Clarias Garipinus (Cate fish) because they fetch high prices but their multiplication rate is very low.