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Rising Fuel Prices: Kalangala Fishermen Consider Suspending Operations

Joseph Lubega, a fuel retailer, says that fishermen and boat operators spend over Shillings 150,000 on each 20-liter jerrycan up from Shillings 80,000 six months ago. Fishermen use and an average of 20 liters of petrol mixed with engine oil daily and they catch between ten to twenty kilograms of Nile Perch and Tilapia.
Boats docked at Dajje Landing Site in Kalangala. Photo by David Ssekayinga

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Fishermen in Kalangala district are contemplating whether or not to continue fishing amidst the rising fuel prices. Fishing is the mainstay of th residents of Kalangala, which comprises 84 islands in Bujjumba and Kyamuswa Sub counties.

The other economic activities are oil palm farming and tourism. However, the residents, say their economic activities mainly fishing, is being threatened by the high fuel prices. A liter of petrol now costs Shillings 6,800 up from Shillings 5,000 in January.

However, the boat engines require a mixture of petrol and engine oil.  A liter of engine oil costs Shillings 12,000 up from Shillings 7,000 in January. The majority of fishermen buy a mixture of fuel and engine oil from vendors at the landing sites in Kalangala. 

A liter of petrol mixed with oil costs between Shillings 7,500 and Shillings 8,600.  The vendors get the fuel from pump stations in Kalangala town council in Bujjumba sub-county and Kasenyi landing site in Katabi Town Council in Wakiso district.             

Joseph Lubega, a fuel retailer, says that fishermen and boat operators spend over Shillings 150,000 on each 20-liter jerrycan up from Shillings 80,000 six months ago. Fishermen use an average of 20 liters of petrol mixed with engine oil daily and they catch between ten to twenty kilograms of Nile Perch and Tilapia. 

A kilogram of Tilapia ranges from Shillings 7,000 to Shillings 9,000 while a kilogram of Nile Perch costs between Shillings 10,000 and Shillings 13,000.  Fishermen say despite the rising fuel prices, fish prices have remained the same for the last six months.  

Sam Sssentumbwa, a resident of Nkesse island, says that the fuel costs are much higher compared to their earnings from the fish catch. Sssentumbwa says he will abandon fishing once the fuel prices hit the Shillings 10,000 mark unless the fish factories that set the prices increase the prices to over Shillings 15,000 per kilogram of Tilapia and over Shillings 20,000 per kilogram of Nile Perch.

Luganda    

//Cue in:”Wetutukidde olwaleero...                  

Cue out:...agamaanyi.”//         

Richard Lwanga, a fisherman and resident of Nakibanga landing site agrees with Sssentumbwa. He says it does not make business sense to spend over Shillings 200,000 on fuel and catch fish that fetches less than Shillings 100,000.        

Luganda 

//Cue in:” Ebeeyi yamafuta...                 

Cue out:...kumafuta.”//          

Fishermen want President Yoweri Museveni to intervene by either removing taxes or subsidizing the fuel prices. 

Luganda 

//Cue in:”Tukubila omulanga...             

Cue out:...ga bwabuseere.”//

Luganda 

//Cue in: ”Ebeeyi yamafuta...                  

Cue out:...kumafuta.”//        

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