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Biodiversity and National Development
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Contribution to GDP
Global position of Uganda in inland capture fisheries production was sixth in 2006 (FAO, 2009). The fisheries sector contributes 2.5% of the national GDP and 12% of the agricultural GDP. The total fish production in Uganda stands at about 560,000 metric tonnes presently with about 82% (460,000 MT) contribution from the five water bodies/several small lakes and only 18 % (100,000 MT) from culture fisheries. The sub-sector has significantly contributed to food, health, economy, exports, employment and tourism of the country. The country has about 2000 individual farmers or farmer groups largely subsistence with over 5000 ponds, 750 cages and over 100 tanks.

 


Over the last 10 years fish and fish products have emerged as the second largest group to coffee in agricultural exports of Uganda. Between 2002 and 2007, fish accounted for 18.8% of commodity export value, second to coffee (22.3%). Fish has also been the first non-traditional export commodity with fish exports to overseas markets increasing from US $ 5.3 m in 1991 to US$ 83.3 million in 2010 with the highest quantity (36,614 tones) and value (US$ 143,168 million) in 2005 (graph 7&8 ) and regional exports to Sudan, Kenya, DRC and Rwanda were valued at about US$ 50 million in 2007 and US$ 30 million in 2011. Both categories of fish exports are from larger lakes. The gross value of fish at landing sites is estimated at US$ 800 m.  Increased fish trade has led to substantial capital investments directed towards fisheries of the large lakes with 19 fish processing plants on the Ugandan parts of lakes Victoria and Albert.  The main export market is the European Union, Middle East, United states, Egypt and South East Asia DFR, 2012. However both the volume and values of fish exports have persistently continued to decline since 2005 mainly due to reduction in catches resulting from un regulated fishing activities and expanses of regional.

Contribution to social development
Fisheries and aquaculture provide direct and indirect livelihoods support to millions of people around the world.  In Uganda an estimated 1,000,000 - 1,500,000 are directly engaged full time or part time in capture fisheries with about 5000 working with the industrial processing fisheries sector and an additional 2000 in aquaculture. An estimated 300,000 people, including a majority of poor men and women, are directly involved in fishing, fish processing and fish trading and nearly 5.3 million people (which is 15% of the total population) are directly dependent on the fisheries sector as one of their main sources of livelihoods (DFR, 2012).

 

Contribution to Food security
Hunger and malnutrition remain among the most devastating problems facing the world poor. A considerable portion of the global population is currently suffering from one or more forms of nutrient deficiency. The worldwide per capita fish consumption increased from an average of 9.9 kg in the 1960s to 12.6 kg in the 1980s to 14.4 Kg in the 1990s reaching 17 Kg in 2007 and 17.3 Kg in 2010 but in Africa it is only 8.3 kg (FAO, 2010) and 10 Kg in Uganda (UBOS, 2010) which is till which is below the recommended WHO/FAO level of 12.5 Kg per capita. Fish have a highly desirable nutrient profile and provide an excellent source of high-quality animal protein that is easily digestible and of high biological value. In particular Fatty fish, provide a rich source of essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that are crucial for normal growth and mental development, especially during pregnancy and early childhood (FAO, 2003). Fish are also rich in fat-soluble vitamins (A, D and E), water-soluble vitamins (B complex) and minerals (especially calcium, phosphorus, iron, selenium and iodine).