Musanze fish farmers compensated

Officials and residents on the banks of one of the ponds where fish stocks died mysteriously in Musanze District last month. File.

Twelve farmers from Musanze District who lost their tilapia fish due to water contamination have been compensated to the tune of Rwf8 million by the Government.

Their loss stemmed from a suspected contamination of Musanze waters, which affected three fish ponds and two rivers, and hence killing the aquarium.

The farmers are grouped under COOPIBEFAMU, a cooperative aimed at promoting family welfare in Muko Sector of Musanze District.

We had acquired a bank loan to practise fish farming activities. It was a burden for us to pay it off as we lost our source of revenues as a result of the incident,” Edouard Bendantunguka, the accountant of the cooperative and one of its member told The New Times.

“Now, we are relieved because we have cleared the bank loan,” he said, adding that the reparation is enough compared to their loss.

The cooperative, Bendantunguka said, was harvesting about Rwf800, 000 every three months through sale of hundreds of kilogrammes of fish. Based on the current market price, a kiliogramme of fish costs about Rwf2,500.

Dr Solange Uwituze, the Deputy Director General of Animal Research and Technology Transfer at Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), said that the Government is exploring ways to support the farmers to resume their fishery activities.

“We are waiting for lab results so we clean the pond water and restock the ponds with fish,” she said.

A team of experts from various institutions, including Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), Rwanda Standards Board (RSB), Local Government, Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) and Rwanda National Police (RNP) was set up to investigate what contaminated the waters and how.

Investigation findings are yet to be released.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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