Fish ponds for fish production and improved household income [Uganda]

Dam Reki - Luo - Uganda

technologies_2140 - Uganda

Completeness: 88%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

land user:

Uhuru Santo

+256-772-638166 / +256-0703-638166 /

Romo Village, Achoyo Parish, Kolo Sub-county, Omoro District


Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Scaling-up SLM practices by smallholder farmers (IFAD)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Uganda Landcare Network (ULN) - Uganda

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

When were the data compiled (in the field)?


The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Declaration on sustainability of the described Technology

Is the Technology described here problematic with regard to land degradation, so that it cannot be declared a sustainable land management technology?


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Fish ponds are established where there is access to water to enhance fish production and household incomes

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


Fish ponds are a common feature in Northern Uganda specifically constructed to raise fish for home consumption and sale to supplement household incomes. Often they are situated on gentle slopes (3-5%) and in wetlands protected with natural vegetation on the levees to act as stabilizers. They are usually recharged from a natural spring.

Establishment of a fish pond requires initial consultation with the extension agents or experts to access knowledge, skills on establishment as well as proper procedures including testing water suitability, presence of reliable water to constantly provide water to the pond, labour, hoes, wheel barrows, spades and slashers.

Establishment activities for the fish pond requires at least 3-5 persons for a period of 5 days per week for the following activities: (i) contacting experts or extension agents for guidance (ii) identifying of suitable land for fish pond establishment (iii) training on digging fish ponds (iv) purchasing equipment required (v) hiring labour and negotiating the payment (vi) excavating the pond and, (vii) identifying the right species of the fish and stocking the fish.

The technical specifications of a fish pond are 30 metres long and 15 metres wide. The depth should be 0.5-1metres at the shallow end and 1.5 -2 metres depth at the pond's outlet. During construction, the soil at the bottom of the planned pond needs to be well compacted. The bottom of the pond should be free of stumps or debris so to avoid leakage through cracks. The banks of the pond consists of compacted earthen rims of approx. 0.15m height and the 0.20 m width.

There shoud be 2 types or more of fish species kept in the fish pond. Sunlight can generally penetrate the pond waters to a depth of about 30-80 cm depending on the water level. The fish species mostly kept include Tilapia, Nile Perch and wild fish.

Once the technology is established the pond system requires only maintenance costs for removing weeds, feeding, restocking and slashing around the pond.
What is not liked about this technology is that it relies on a natural spring. In case of drought survival of the fish is not guaranteed.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.4 Videos of the Technology

Comments, short description:

Fish pond owned by Uhuru Santo in Omolo District, Northern Uganda.




Omolo District, Northern Uganda

Name of videographer:

Issa Aiga

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment



Region/ State/ Province:

Northern Region,Uganda

Further specification of location:

Omolo District


Map showing fish pond technology site in Northern Uganda

2.6 Date of implementation

Indicate year of implementation:


2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • through land users' innovation
  • through projects/ external interventions
Comments (type of project, etc.):

The farmer started the innovation using his own initiative but later involved the extension agent to train him on fish pond management

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • improve production
  • create beneficial economic impact

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied



  • Annual cropping
Main crops (cash and food crops):


Grazing land

Grazing land

Extensive grazing land:
  • Nomadism
Main animal species and products:

Goats, cows, sheep and pigs. Pigs belong to a women association of which the farmer's wife is the chair person.

If land use has changed due to the implementation of the Technology, indicate land use before implementation of the Technology:

Annual cropland: land under temporary/annual crops

3.3 Further information about land use

other (e.g. post-flooding):
  • spring water
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 1
Livestock density (if relevant):

Cows=5, Goats=5, Sheep=4. These animals are kept mainly for manure and household income.

3.4 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • surface water management (spring, river, lakes, sea)
  • Aquaculture

3.5 Spread of the Technology

Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • applied at specific points/ concentrated on a small area

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

vegetative measures

vegetative measures

  • V2: Grasses and perennial herbaceous plants
structural measures

structural measures

  • S5: Dams, pans, ponds

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

water degradation

water degradation

  • Hs: change in quantity of surface water

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • prevent land degradation

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology






Prossy Kaheru


Udo Höggel

4.2 Technical specifications/ explanations of technical drawing

The technical drawing of a fish pond is vertically drawn to show a fish pond in a wetland with natural vegetation allowed to grow to establish the pond. The recommended specifications of a fish pond are within a range of 30 metres x 15 metres. The depth should be 0.5-1metres at the shallow end sloping to 1.5 -2 metres at the outlet. A rim of compacted soil encircles the pond at its banks. The average stocking is 1000-3000 fishes depending critically on the fish species and the size of the fishes, that is its stage of lifecycle.
The second techical drawing shows the structure from a crosssectional view.

4.3 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

Specify how costs and inputs were calculated:
  • per Technology area
Indicate size and area unit:

30 metres X 15 metres

other/ national currency (specify):

Uganda Shillings

Indicate exchange rate from USD to local currency (if relevant): 1 USD =:


Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:


4.4 Establishment activities

Activity Type of measure Timing
1. Identify expert or extension agent to guide Other measures Before establishment
2. Identifying suitable land for fish pond establishment Other measures Before establishment and after talking to the expert
3. Identify location of the fish pond Other measures Before establishment / rainy season
4. Training on how to establish fish pond Other measures Before establishment
5. Buy equipment Other measures wet season/before establishment
6. Look for labour and negotiate costs Other measures Before establishment/ dry season
7. Dig the pond Structural At the time of establishment / dry season
8. Identify the right species and stock Agronomic During establishment/ wet season
9. Feeding Agronomic Wet and dry season
10. Monitoring and routine maintanance Other measures During the dry and wet season

Activities geared towards establishing a fish pond where favorable conditions can be sustained

4.5 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Labour on monthly basis persons 5.0 150000.0 750000.0 100.0
Equipment Spades Pieces 5.0 10000.0 50000.0 100.0
Equipment Slasher Pieces 1.0 10000.0 10000.0 100.0
Equipment Wheel barrow Pieces 1.0 180000.0 180000.0 100.0
Other Fish fry Pieces 50.0 500.0 25000.0 100.0
Other Feeds per week Kilograms 5.0 10000.0 50000.0 100.0
Other Fish nets Pieces 7.0 50000.0 350000.0 100.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 1415000.0

4.6 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Type of measure Timing/ frequency
1. Transporting the equipment Other measures During the dry season/ on set of rains
2. Slashing Management Wet season
3. Restocking the fish Agronomic wet and dry season
4. Providing the security of the fish Other measures wet and dry season
5. Feeding Other measures wet and dry season
6. Monitoring the fish Other measures wet and dry season
7. Fishing Other measures wet and dry season
8. Selling Other measures wet and dry season

4.7 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Labour on monthly basis persons 1.0 150000.0 150000.0 100.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 150000.0

4.8 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

Labour is the important factor that influences costs. The farmer used own money to hire labour.

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Specifications/ comments on rainfall:

Two rainy seasons and two dry season

Agro-climatic zone
  • humid

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.
Indicate if the Technology is specifically applied in:
  • concave situations

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
Soil texture (> 20 cm below surface):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • high (>3%)

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

on surface

Availability of surface water:


Water quality (untreated):

good drinking water

Is water salinity a problem?


Is flooding of the area occurring?


Comments and further specifications on water quality and quantity:

There is a lot of drought occurring due to deforestation

5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • medium
Habitat diversity:
  • low

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Sedentary or nomadic:
  • Sedentary
Market orientation of production system:
  • subsistence (self-supply)
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial
Off-farm income:
  • 10-50% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • average
Individuals or groups:
  • individual/ household
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
  • women
  • men
Age of land users:
  • youth
  • middle-aged

5.7 Average area of land owned or leased by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • medium-scale

Inherited land

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • individual, not titled
Land use rights:
  • open access (unorganized)
Water use rights:
  • open access (unorganized)
  • individual

Farmer has submitted application to Registrar of Titles for registration of land

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
roads and transport:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
drinking water and sanitation:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


fodder production

Comments/ specify:

Fodder grasses planted on the pond levee

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:

slightly positive

Long-term returns:


How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:

slightly negative

Long-term returns:



High costs at the time of establishment with more benefits and increased income when fish is sold

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

  • 1-10%
If available, quantify (no. of households and/ or area covered):


Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many have did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 90-100%

6.6 Adaptation

Has the Technology been modified recently to adapt to changing conditions?


If yes, indicate to which changing conditions it was adapted:
  • climatic change/ extremes
Specify adaptation of the Technology (design, material/ species, etc.):

Growing natural vegetation around the pond to act as bank stabilizer and fodder source

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Provides employment to the local communities
Easy to maintain with minimum costs
Provides income form the sale of the fish
Easily replicated
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Does not require high maintenance costs once established
Requires technical advice which is available with extension workers

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
Easily affected by drought especially during the dry season Water harvesting
High costs for feeding and paying labour Use of family / group labour/ growing more vegetation
Fish is easily attacked by preditors (crocodiles) which reduces harvest Kill preditors
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Not fenced yet poisoning is a common threat Fencing / employ a guard
Requires more capital to establish Link the farmer to credit institutions and pay after selling fish

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys

Interviewed the only one respondent who is the resource person

  • interviews with land users

Interviewed the only one respondent who is the resource person

Links and modules

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