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Researchers provide solution to wetland degradation

Ugandans engaged in brick making business will longer leave land to waste as Ndejje University finds solution to utilize the country’s wetlands in a more sustainable way compared to simply depleting them for brick making and agriculture. The innovation is driven by one of the university’s guiding principle of “Improving the living conditions of local communities.” Ndejje University Water Research and Development Centre together with the Environment and Agriculture Research Centre have therefore devised solution to transform the wasted pools or ponds into fish farming income generating ventures for the communities. The brains behind the innovation are Austrian water research consultant David Bensel and young Ugandan researcher Christopher Bakawa based at the Luwero university’s Main Campus.

Ugandans create ponds after excavation of soil/clay for brick making that become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, frogs and other predators to enjoy the water comfort. “We have engaged the community and assisted in modeling the wasted land into productive fish ponds. The transformation of the community from brick making business into fish farming will eventually improve their livelihood and increase in the food basket,” Mr. Bakawa said. Extensive research was this year conducted with success in a rural Mulira Village setting in Nsanvu Parish, Luwero District. “You do not have to be next to a river, stream or lake to farm fish although a constant source of clean fresh water is essential for tilapia farming. Land unsuited to other productive uses, even small plots can be used for fish farming,” Mr. Bensel explained.

Fish is a popular source of protein and white meat in Uganda. However the gap between demand and supply has widened owing to increased population and over exploitation of the natural fish stocks. The best option the university has taken to bridge the ever widening gap is the innovation into the local communities making a living from fish farming focusing on rearing tilapia. “We have zeroed on tilapia because it is a fast maturing fish, easy to keep and carries a higher price tag compared to other types of fish, among other factors “You get returns to your investment fast. A six-month fish can fetch around UGX 10,000 to 15,000, 25 times more than the cost price,” said Mr. Bakawa On top of the innovation, the university has also produced a book to guide the farmer through the process of planning, construction, start-up, pond maintenance, harvesting and marketing. The book also contains an overview of the common problems encountered, causes and solutions to run a successful fish farming business.
The book is already on sale at Ndejje University’s Kampala Campus and Luwero Main campus. For further information contact Mr. Christopher Bakawa on Tel: 256-783110098 or 256- 703101523, Email: bakawa2020@gmail.com

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