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Biodiversity and National Development
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BIODIVERSITY AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Biodiversity produces goods and services required to meet basic human needs such as clean air, fresh water, food, medicine and shelter. It also meets human needs for recreation as well as psychological, emotional and spiritual enjoyment (Alonso et al., 2001). There are direct (tangible) and indirect (non tangible) benefits of biodiversity. The direct benefits include food, raw materials, fuel and medicine. The indirect services include the ecosystem services such as drought and flood control, climate modification, air and water purification, pollination and provision of habitats for several species flora and fauna.

The presence of indigenous biological resources and their diversity provide a wide range of direct economic benefits because they generate products, which are used for subsistence, income and employment purposes. Uganda biological resources yield a wide range of direct benefits to both domestic and commercial consumers including wood fuel, fibres, honey, fodder, medicines and wild.

Fisheries

Uganda fisheries is an important sub-sector of food production, providing nutritional security to the food basket, contributing to the agricultural exports and engaging directly about 1.2 million people in different activities. With about 20% surface area under water comprising open waters 46,900 Sq km, Swamps = 7,300 Sq. km and Rivers = 2000 sq km. Uganda fisheries landscape therefore includes the diverse resources ranging from the five large lakes Victoria, Kyoga, Albert Edward, George and Kazinga Channel, over 160 small lakes, a network of rivers, swamps and flood plains all of which are critical habitats, breeding and nursery grounds for fish and potential sites for Aquaculture development.

The 160 small water bodies occur in Eastern and western Uganda but their potential for fish production is largely unknown. Some lakes harbor unexpected biodiversity of endemic flocks of cichlids, some have diverse native fisheries, while others were fishless due to their geological history until stocked with tilapia species in the first half of the past century. Some lie protected within national parks, while others have suffered intensive watershed disturbance. These water bodies are thus much underrepresented in development planning, and the opportunity lost via such oversight is substantial for local communities and more broadly for offsetting protein deficiencies in the country. Uganda has about 600 fish species in terms of biodiversity and all edible but the commonly encountered in trade are dominated by the Nile perch, Nile tilapia and small fishes (Mukene, Ragoogi and Nkejje).