Dr. Uwituze (Left) and Mr. Wolters (Right) launching the farm
Dr. Uwituze with farm personnel

Starting in January 2023, Rwanda is implementing a 15 million Euro aquaculture programme that is expected to take the nation closer to self sufficiency in fish production. The programme, will involve increase Rwanda’s fish feed production capacity and training members of fish farming cooperatives. The nation’s twelve hatcheries will be strengthened to achieve their 40 million fingerlings annual capacity.

Rwanda is seeking to increase fish farm production in order to reduce its dependence on imported fish. According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, fish imports increased from 22,473 tonnes worth Rwf22 billion in 2017 to 35,772 tonnes worth Rwf32.5 billion in 2020. Fish production from fish ponds registered a modest increase from 461 tonnes in 2020 to 490. 8 tonnes in 2021.With support and new investment, production is expected to increase from 1, 543.6 tonnes expected in 2022 to 2,000 tonnes by 2023.

Rwanda is seen as an attractive destination for aquaculture investment. Kariba Farms, a partnership of Ghanaians, Zambians and Rwandans, is gearing up to start production in Lake Mahezi this year, with an initial annual target of 500 tons.

Meanwhile, the Gishanda Fish Farm, a modern, RAS based, solar powered fish farm and hatchery based at the Akagera National Park, started operating on October 22, 2022. Gishanda, a collaboration between Akagera, managed by African Parks, and FoodTechAfrica, a consortium of Dutch based private companies, with the support of the Rwandan and Dutch governments. Netherlands Embassy. The official ceremony was attended by Dr. Solange Uwituze, Deputy Director General of Animal Resources Development at the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Rwanda, Mr. Matthijis Wolters, The Regional Manager of African Parks, Mr. Jes Gruner and the Park Manager for Akagera National Park, Mr. Ladis Ndahiriwe.

A side view of Gishanda Farm

According to a government statement, ‘It is expected that Gishanda will accelerate aquaculture development in the Republic of Rwanda by introducing innovation and new skills in the aquaculture industry. This Fish Farm will be a producer of quality tilapia fingerlings (juvenile fish), demonstrate catfish farming as an accessible protein production option for communities, as well as tilapia production for food: and serve as a model of circular agriculture with the farm effluent fertilizing an on-site organic vegetable farm. Being the second fish farm of its kind in Rwanda, the project will not only provide employment opportunities for local community members, it will also become an important source of food and protein to supplement local nutritional deficits’.

The statement further stated that ‘In addition to the production of fully-grown tilapia, the Gishanda Fish Farm is expected to produce 1 – 1.5 million tilapia fingerlings annually, of which 110,000 will be retained for farm production. A high-quality strain of tilapia, the commercial sale of around one million fingerlings; will bolster the Rwandan aquaculture sector.The balance of 300,000 – 400,000 will be used to re-stock lakes in the region, generating locally viable sources of protein and economic growth on a national scale’.

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