Ernest Nabihamba, the senior production and Environment officer Jinja municipality says farmers are polluting the ground, river, and Lake Water with huge amounts of nitrogen, ammonia, phosphorous, and nitrates from fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.
The increased use of agro chemicals in Jinja district to boost productivity is taking a toll on aquatic life in Lake Victoria. Farmers in the district use fertilizers, pesticides and herbicide to boost their yield and control pests. However, Sarah Namulondo, the Jinja District Fisheries Officer says the chemicals are affecting aquatic life.
She says several fish species mostly Talapia, Lungfish and catfish are found dead in thousands on the shores of Lake Victoria during spraying time. Namulondo estimates that close to 10 tons of young and mature fish is lost during the spraying period in Jinja alone. She explains that the fish, which breed along the lake shores die as a result of water contamination.
In 2010, the National Environment Management Authority – NEMA claimed several fish species and aquatic animals were dying along the shores in Wairaka, Wanyange, Budhumbuli, Walukuba and Masese along the Lake Victoria shores due to pollution. Ernest Nabihamba, the senior production and Environment officer Jinja municipality says the farmers are polluting the ground, river, and Lake Water with high amounts of nitrogen, ammonia, phosphorous, and nitrates from fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.
He says these particular chemicals are dangerous to fish and other water animals.
//Cue in “Pesticides in particular…
Cue out “…including the fish.”//
Nabihamba says water from wells, streams and rivers flow into Lake Victoria with salts, which gives facilitates the formation of algae. He however, says once the algae die bacteria uses up all the oxygen, which affects aquatic life.
Dr. Tom Kasadha, the Jinja district Agriculture officer says farmers along the Lake Victoria shores are involved in vegetable growing, which require the use of chemicals like organophosphates, Diazinon, Dursban, Dithane M45, Dithane M22 and Furadan. According to President Yoweri Museveni modern Agriculture is arguably the most important sector of the Ugandan economy.
In 2013 agriculture contributed 23.9% of the Uganda gross domestic product. Agriculture also provides approximately 82 percent of employment in the country.