Government seeks to increase fish production next year as it accelerates efforts to trim importation of fish products.
The country targets to increase production to 25,000 tonnes annually from 17,000 tonnes albeit more funding.
The head of Inland Lakes Integrated Management Support Project at the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Wilson Rutaganira, said that additional output would cater for growing demand as well as increase national revenues.
Government also aims to boost fish consumption to two kilogrammes per capita from 1.5 kilogrammes. The country’s fish consumption is far below the Sub-Saharan Africa target of six kilogrammes.
Rwanda imports more than 10,000 tonnes of fish per year but aims to boost production to 112,000 tonnes by 2020.
Most of the country’s harvest is from Lake Kivu, which produces 10,000 tonnes annually but plans are underway to replenish all inland lakes and fish ponds with fingerings.
The Director General of Animal Husbandry at the Ministry of Agriculture, Theogene Rutagwenda, said the government is in the process of restocking all the over-fished water bodies to increase production.
“We realised that most of our bodies have been over-fished; so the government has deliberately put a new system in place to introduce new fish fingerlings in our lakes,” he said.
Efforts to fight illegal fishing and enhance the livelihoods of communities involved in fishing as well as promotion of aquaculture will help develop the sector, he added.
The fishing sector employs some 200,000 people. It is projected that the sector will employ over one million people by 2020.