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Harnessing the comparative production economics of ponds and cages for improved aquaculture sector in Uganda Public Deposited

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  • In Uganda and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in general, pond productivity is low; and as a result the aquaculture sector is characterised by continuous exit of old practitioners and entry of new adopters. In a pond system, Nile tilapia takes about 10-12 months to reach table size (~500g) when fed on a nutritionally complete diet. In cages, a 500 g fish is obtained within 6-7 months; hence, two production cycles are possible per year. However, fingerling production in a pond based system has been more successful than in cages. This is because of the relatively easy technologies required to produce fingerlings in ponds than in cages for Ugandan farmers. We compared the relative production economics of fingerlings and table size fish. When ponds are used for Nile tilapia spawning, about 3500 fingerlings per m3 are produced every after 21 days. On the contrary, only 8 table-sized fish of ~500 g each (i.e. approx. 4 kg) are harvested per m3 after 10-12 months. Hence, a farmer producing fingerlings (each sold at USD 0.22) earns over USD 700 per m3 as opposed to the one producing table-size fish who earns only USD 11 per m3; and moreover after a long duration and with higher production inputs. We demonstrate that pond facilities are better for fingerling production, but not for table sized fish. Clustering smallholder fish farmers to communally own and manage cages can be more productive, affordable and sustainable in Uganda and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in general.
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  • Seattle, Washington, USA
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