Uganda partners with FAO to investigate Tilapia on Lake Victoria

APA-Kampala (Uganda)

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has set up a committee to investigate the reported outbreak of the Tilapia Lake Virus in Lake Victoria WHICH IS SHARED BY THREE East African countries of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

According to Jacob Olwo, the program officer of fisheries and aquaculture at FAO Uganda, the will have experts from six African countries that is Uganda, Kenya, Angola, Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana.

Although the authorities in the Fisheries Directorate in Uganda claim the virus hasn't been confirmed in Lake Victoria, they confirm that investigations are ongoing.

Dr. Edward Rukunya, the Director of Fisheries Resources in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries, says on top of the investigations there are other studies and mitigation measures being put in place to ensure the dangerous virus doesn't catch the country unawares.

The investigations are to be done by scientists from FAO, Kampala-based Makerere University and Uganda’s ministry of agriculture. 

Uganda’s Agriculture Ministry and FAO have embarked on strengthening research laboratories at the Fisheries Institute and Makerere University with the necessary equipment and train technical persons in bio-security matters.

The virus, which causes high mortality in Nile Tilapia, was first identified in Israel in 2012.  It has been confirmed in eight countries in Asia, Africa and South America. However the virus only attacks tilapia and not human beings. Tilapia is one of the major fish species consumed in Uganda.

According to statistics the Fisheries contribute 12 percent of Uganda’s agricultural gross domestic product (GDP) and supplies 50 percent of animal proteins consumed in the east African country.


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