By Weswa Ronnie, ELGON FM/NECJOGHA
Mbale, Uganda – The government of Uganda through the Ministry of Water and Environment is to set up fishing ponds in wetlands located in the eastern Uganda district of Mbale.
While speaking to local leaders and stakeholders at Mbale district headquarters, early this week, Paulo Mafabi the national wetland management coordinator says that by creating fishing ponds, they are aiming to conserve wetlands across the country.
“Rather than people growing there crops like sugarcane, rice, and yams we want to set up fishing ponds such that people owning land can get money through fishing as they protect the wetland,” Mafabi said.
He added that the government has realized that the current continuation of swamp mismanagement in the country by carrying out agricultural activities may result into effects of climate change in future.
Charles Wakube the Mbale district environmental officer also welcomed government initiative saying that this is going to revive back the hitherto mismanaged wetlands.
He revealed that in Mbale district they have identified three main swamps which are Manafwa, Namatala and Nagerima where the fishing ponds are going to be dug.
“We are going to work with land owners from those respective wet lands during the establishment of fish ponds” Wakube said.
Joseph Okoja the Mbale district fisheries officer confirmed this and said they are going to start with setting up over 40 fish ponds in Nagerima wet lands located in Nakaloke Sub County before moving to other wetlands.
He also says that although the project is going to be set by government it will be owned by locals who own the land in the respective wetlands.
Baraza Ogajjo the resident district commissioner of Mbale district urged locals to embrace the development saying that they are going to benefit more than from the crops they have been growing in the wetlands because fish fetches more money yet they will be conserving the wetland.