Uganda's Mukene Harvest the Lowest in East Africa

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Despite the fact that Uganda has a larger share of Lake Victoria than Kenya, it harvests less mukene fish than Kenya, researchers have said. Mukene is a small sardine-like fish found in abundance in Lake Victoria, Lake Kyoga and the Victoria Nile. It is among the three most important commercial fish species in Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga. Mukene, also called Omena in Kenya and Dagaa in Tanzania, is eaten in dried form mainly by poor and middle-income groups throughout East Africa. Levi Muhoozi, a research officer at the National Agricultural Research Organization, says Tanzania, which has 51 percent of Lake Victoria, catches more than 20,000 tonnes of mukene every month. Kenya harvests 9,000 tonnes of mukene monthly, while Uganda only produces 6,000 tonnes of mukene. Muhoozi attributes Uganda's low catch to the rudimentary fishing technology in the country. He says there is a need for Uganda to adopt technologies that will enable access to distant offshore fishing grounds. Muhoozi has just completed a visit of Kalangala's fisheries department to share his recommendations for the improvement of the fishing industry in the district. The Kalangala Chief Fisheries Officer, Jackson Baguma, laments the slow adoption of modern fishing methods by Ugandan fishermen. He says that three years ago, the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation took three fishermen from each of the districts surrounding Lake Victoria to Tanzania to appreciate the value of modern technology. However, Baguma says none of the knowledge gained was ever put to practice. In Uganda, Mukono District is the largest producer of mukene, averaging 2,800 tonnes each month. The Mukono mukene harvests bring in about 450 million shillings every month. Kalangala follows it with a monthly average of 1,500 tonnes of mukene. Of the eleven districts around Lake Victoria, Kampala and Jinja have the lowest Mukene harvests with 3 tonnes and zero tonnes respectively.