The government through the Ministry of Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs has kick started a Sh124 million fish landing site at Mulukhoba beach in Bunyala Sub County.
Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony for the facility on Wednesday, the Cabinet Secretary for Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Salim Mvurya said that the initiative was part of the government’s commitment to boost the economy of the fishing community.
“We must work closely with the fisher folk to ensure that the country’s economy grows,” he said, adding that the project would be completed within two months.
Mvurya explained that the facility would enable the fishermen to have storage space, cold rooms and engage in value addition with a view to avoid selling their fish at throw away prices.
He further urged the Beach Management Units to form cooperatives in order to make the fishing industry more profitable.
“I know that you have been having challenges of insecurity and competition from the Ugandan fishermen while carrying out your fishing expeditions,’ he noted, adding that a Cabinet meeting would be held next week to address such challenges.
The CS further said each BMU should have its own coxswain drawn from the local community.
Mvurya at the same time said that his Ministry would meet all governors within the Lake region and establish a common blueprint so that they could work as a team for the benefit of the local communities.
Busia Governor Paul Otuoma lauded the government for the initiative adding that the facility would cushion the fishermen from post-harvest losses.
Otuoma promised that his government would offer the necessary support to ensure the success of the project.
Budalangi MP Raphael Wanjala said that there was a need to train coxswains at the local technical training Institutes instead of having them go all the way to Mombasa.
Wanjala at the same time urged the government to review the cost of training for the coxswain adding that the current fees of Sh80, 000 was too high for the local residents.
He at the same time suggested that there was a need to establish fees hatcheries along the lake to create employment opportunities for the youth.
The forum was attended by the fishermen and their BMU leadership who presented their grievances ranging from insecurity and harassment by the Ugandan authorities.
By Salome Alwanda