PUKURE FISH FARM

Mr. Onen Marcellino is in his mid seventies.His business is fish farming. This is a rare business in the region. Onen studied at Layibi Technical school in the late 1950s and early 1960s He is a builder by trade. Our of the benefits of his work as a mason and some grant ( N.U.S. A .F from the government, he started Pukure Fish Farm.

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Fiona stands by the tilapia pool

The primary aim of the business is to produce young fish for other farmers to buy. For this reason, there is a well constructed hatchery with modern facilities.Onen needs a number of people to help him in running this rather complex business. He does not hire much labour from outside. He uses his own children ---- sons. He needs labour at the hatchery.

What Mr. Onen does is that he separates mature male fish of good quality from other stock. squeezes sperm our of them while; the female are treated to make their eggs mature in two days, the eggs are forced out and kept in some water troughs. The male one are also treated to have their sperm mature. The sperms are removed and sprayed onto the eggs where fertilisation takes place.Young fish are graded in these troughs before they are sold off to other farmers. The other farmers however to do not have the sophistication that Mr. Onen has.



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Mr. Onen shows the grading troughs





The temperature in the hatchery troughs is kept between 25 degrees Celcius and 27degrees Celcius. When the solar system is working, water is heated by the solar heater and relayed through pipes to the hatchery. A solar system consisting of some panels and a heater us used for this purpose. Here labour is also required.

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Solar system on the roof
The same solar system is used to run a machine that supplies oxygen to the young fish. Again an attendant for the machine is needed.


When the system is not functioning like today, there is a local system in place where water is boiled in a big drum using fire wood and sent to keep the temperature fairly constant. This system also neeeds someone to work at.

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a stand-by system for boiling water system


When cold water is needed for use in the hatchery it is carefully selected. Underground water is piped from a well to a filter.

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the well



From the well, water is taken to a filter that consists of a pipe with a fine gauze fitted on its mouth.

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the filter

Water is drawn from the filter pipe by a pump which is "peddled " like a bicycle. All these activities need a big labour force Without his own children, the cost of running this business would be very high.


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pump.jpg


Apart from these workers, Mr. Onen also needs workers in the office-- a manager, salesman, accountant. He also needs other unskilled labourers ------ those to feed the fish, clean the place etc.

Besides selling young fish, which is the main stream of the business, mature fresh fish are also marketed to the locals.

Mr. Onen with the help of his children use more formal accounting practices to run the business. He makes his business know through the Local Government structures especially the N.U.S.A.F staff

Mr. Onen chose this business because there was none of the sort in this region-- northern Uganda. A northern reason being that this is the business he found fit for him at his retirement age from public service. More so the farm is right at his compound. Apart from pilfering of money this is a business where theft of 'produce' is not easy.

At the moment Mr. Onen has no rival. He enjoys this autonomy proudly. Theft, burglary and other crimes are common in the area but this place is safe-- I can say very safe. His own sons guard the farm in turns. Fierce hounds give. trespassers no chance to especially at night.

Mr. Onen works together with the community to solve problems in the community. When it comes to donations for community work he is always on the lead. He attends community meetings, does manual labour if necessary.
He does need many supplies for the business except buying feeds for the fish. One good thing in his business is that he does not have credit transactions. Everything is on cash basis. NGO'S and individuals who come to buy the young fish and locals who come to buy fresh ones for consumption pay cash.


His challenges are low income when NGO's, parastatals, and institutions do not come to buy the 'seed' fish.
Others include shop lifting by his own children. Sometimes feeds are not readily available in Gulu. In the dry season-- December - early March the water level goes. This not favourable for fish.




APPENDIX
N.U.S.A.F= Northern Uganda Social Action Fund


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