The Council of Ministers of the LVFO in 2002 directed the Secretariat to promote aquaculture in the Lake Victoria basin as a means of increasing fish production in the basin and reducing pressure on wild stocks. In addition to the potentially significant contribution to food security, it is also being promoted as an activity that can create employment, generate foreign income and otherwise contribute to economic growth. Aquaculture is a relatively new enterprise in East Africa and has so far only been carried out at a subsistence level. The potential for aquaculture in the region is very high because it has a large number of productive natural waters.
Following the directive of the Council of Ministers LVFO began the process to ensure that aquaculture is developed in the Lake Basin through the following initiatives:
a)A grant from the Partnership Fund to facilitate a review of the status of aquaculture and provide guidance on the development of aquaculture in the basin. A grant of US $ 15,000 was approved by the Partnership Consultative Committee of the EAC in 2004 and used by the Aquaculture Regional Working Group (ARWG) to prepare the following reports: The Status of Aquaculture in the Lake Victoria Basin; Status and Potential for Cage Culture in Lake Victoria Basin; Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for aquaculture research and development in the Lake Victoria basin;
b) The ongoing EU funded IFMP project allocated funds to enable the ARWG to finalize the SOPs and prepare six aquaculture manuals: A technical Guide to Clarias gariepinus Seed Production for Commercial Aquaculture in L. Victoria Basin; The African Catfish (Clarias gariepinus) Culture Manual; The Technical Manual on Fish Feed Production; Manual for Tilapia Culture; Standard Technical Guidelines for Pond Based Nile Tilapia Seed Production; and A Manual on Fish Pond Siting, Construction and Management
c)The three Partner States through LVFO requested FAO assistance to strengthen the institutional capacity of LVFO to guide and facilitate harmonised and sustainable development of aquaculture around Lake Victoria. A project to support the aquaculture sub-sector in the riparian countries around Lake Victoria – TCP/RAF/3102 (A) was signed in April 2006 and initiated in August 2006. FAO/TCP is contributing US $360,000 which will include a number of TCDC experts and FAO officers to offer technical inputs in developing a regional catalogue/database on economically viable aquaculture production systems and methods which can be promoted in the region. The project is being implemented through National Focal Offices in the three Partner States and Coordinated regionally through LVFO Secretariat
The Partner States are at different levels in aquaculture research and development. Uganda is moving relatively faster with some support from USAID to venture into commercial aquaculture involving the private sector. It is recognized that the private sector should be fully involved if aquaculture is to become an income generating venture which can contribute to poverty eradication. The LVFO is therefore developing a regional strategy for aquaculture research and development in the Lake Basin and is to source for funds for its implementation.