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Makerere holds a research dissemination workshop on inter regional cross border formal and informal fish trade .


Participants posing for a group photograph after the opening session

Makerere University on 16th August 2017 held the regional Dissemination workshop on inter regional cross border formal and informal fish trade.

The workshop was held at the Grand Global Hotel in Makerere Kinoni, a Kampala suburb. The workshop attracted stake holders within the fishing industry across the country.

Makerere University Principal Investigator, Associate Prof. Theodore S. Hyuha said the project was conducted under a network and covered nine universities from different corridors.

“They are four corridors, the Eastern corridor represented by Tanzania and Uganda, Southern corridor Malawi and South Africa, Central African corridor and Western corridor represented by Ghana and Senegal”, the Don said.


Assoc. Prof. Theodora S. Hyuha during the interview 

She said the project was conducted within three years with each region getting different amounts of money.

She said the main objective of the project was to have evidence based data on informal trade because it had been found out the there is a lot of informal trade on fish going on yet it had not been captured.

“The world fish programme through EU funding, wanted to know the volumes of fish which do not move through the right channels, what’s the value of that fish and why do people prefer going for informal fish trading instead of using the formal channels despite the fact that some of the rules have been put in place like the border posts.

Prof. Hyuha  reported that the purpose of the  workshop was to know why many fish traders are choosing informal channels over formal channels  hence disseminating the results of that curiosity.

Some of the surprising findings she said was that, the informal trade is more profitable than formal trade which is disturbing.

“Given the fact that they go through different hustles to even evade taxes, we found out that it is very profitable for them to sell their fish in an a informal way.We realized that those who are trading informally were evading taxes meaning the taxes which are levied are either too high or there is a problem,” she said.


Another reason for the profitability of informal trade according to Prof. Hyuha was that , it was too hectic to trade formally.

Other key findings he said are the too porous borders especially the Busia Kenya Border where the study was conducted.She said the study was also conducted at Mpondwe Kasese Boarder and they were also hoping to go to the Northwest for the same study.

She stressed that government is losing a lot of money by people trading informally which is affecting URA revenue collections yet government needs it for service delivery.

The study which observed too much wastage of fish, recommended that there should be infrastructure support to farmers and traders to minimize the wastage through rotting.

Prof. Hyuha observed the need to find out why people evade taxes, so that they can levi the taxes which people can afford.


The study according to Prof. Hyuha also recommended for a way of access to credit by the different gender on top of joining associations.

“We realized that where there is an association, people are doing very well because all the fish is being traded through the association and they seem to be gaining.

 Such associations could be replicated in other places for people to join and enhance training skills and also find better marketing for their fish,” She said.

The Chairperson Busia Cross border trade association Patrick Kenyatta Wanjala confirmed that they still have some people who are practicing informal trade, the reason being that the levy is very high.


Mr. Patrick Kenyatta Wanjala speaking to journalists

“From Busia main market, we have implemented the system of going through the customs through one stop boarder and pay the levy.

It is $ 0.005 USD per kilogram in a consignment of fish (approximately shs. 18,700)  which is very high for people to pay but we are trying to sensitize our traders on how pay the levy,” he said.

Wanjala asked government to reduce the taxes so that the traders can also benefit from their fish.


Story compiled by:

Nankebe Agnes Nantambi

Internee, Communication Office CAES.


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