RWANDA – The government of Rwanda will start implementing a US$16 million five-year project funded by Belgium to improve fish production.

An inception meeting to prepare the team to start the operation of the project will be held soon, Solange Uwituze, the Deputy Director General in charge of Animal Resources Research and Technology Transfer at Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB) revealed.

She informed the New Times that this project’s main objectives will be to help improve and increase fish feed to boost fish farming.

“Feeds made from soybeans and maize for tilapia are still expensive. We want to work with investors to increase fish feed production,” she said.

There are currently only two factories in the country that produce feed suitable for tilapia, one being in Huye district and the other in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

Research conducted recently found that the feed used by pigs and poultry in the country can also be used for fish feed.

The feed utilized a technology that used black soldier fish for the production of fish feed rich in proteins and can be used to replace soybean, providing up to 75% of the protein needed to make fish feed.

Another of the project’s objectives is to train Rwandan fish farmers on farming techniques that are more affordable.

Solange revealed that 96 cooperatives around the country are already undergoing training on tilapia fish farming in over 3000 ponds.

She insisted that more investments need to be made towards fish farming calling upon the private sector to get involved as well.

Fish production in Rwanda has seen growth in recent years where the annual fish produced in the year 2022 was 43,560 tonnes, a 4.3% increase from the 41,664 tonnes captured in 2021.

On the other hand, fish produced from fish ponds has increased from 461 tonnes recorded in 2020 to 490 tonnes in 2021 and through investment and support to the sector, the production is expected to increase to 2000 tonnes by 2023.

Fish ponds have been the only farming method being implemented in Rwanda, the aquaculture department is however pushing for other intensive fish farming methods to be adopted such as cage culture, fish farming in tanks as well as dams.

These new methods can increase the amount of fish domestically produced and also contribute to job creation which will improve the livelihoods of fish farmers and ultimately help eradicate poverty in the country.

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