MOYO. The residents of Dufile and Laropi sub-counties in Moyo district have urged the government to find a lasting solution to the Karba weed (Salvinia molesta) which is threatening to cover up the entire surface of River Nile thus making fishing difficult.
The locals say the weed has made life difficult for those who solely depend on the river for fish to survive.
Mr George Rokani, a resident of Paanjala village in Dufile sub-county said paying the school fees of his children has become one of the most stressing factors from the time the weed took over most parts of the river.
“Now days getting UGX20,000 in a day will require one to struggle a lot compared to those days when the river was free of the weed,’’ Rokoni said.
According to Rokoni, he now depends on loans from groups’ savings to pay school fees.
He appealed to the government to consider coming in to control the weed on the river if their lives are to improve in the near future.
Mr Peter Buni, another fisherman and a resident of Panyanga village in Laropi sub-county said much as fishing is one of the most lucrative businesses with immediate returns for the people along the Nile, many have lost interest in it because of the difficulties caused by the Kareba weed.
He said getting UGX50, 000 on the river in a day has become history for many fishermen in Laropi due to the scarcity of fish brought in by the presence of the Kareba weed.
“I believe this weed is so acidic for the fish because wherever it is, you will never catch fish in the area,” Buni said.
Buni explained that he has now shifted attention from fishing to agriculture despite the fact that the returns in agriculture are not immediate.
He, however, expressed worry that farming has always been affected by unpredictable weather.
Buni said it is the reason 80 per cent of the residents in Laropi and Dufile sub-counties in Moyo district depend on fishing as their main economic activities.
Similarly, Mr Tom Alero Azza, the Moyo West county Member of Parliament noted that the people of Laropi and Dufile sub-counties entirely depend on fish for paying school, diet and other necessities to sustain their lives as well as developing their homes.
He, however, said the presence of the weed has affected the level of production of fish since they cannot get oxygen to thrive.
Azza stressed that accessing fishing sites has become hard for the fishermen because the surface of the river has been covered by the weed.
Mr William Bob Labeja, the Moyo RDC instead appealed to the leaders to follow up on the matter with the ministry of agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries since the Parliament of Uganda was petitioned about the same concern sometime back.