This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Understanding the Role of Fish Farmer Organizations as Intermediaries for Aquacultural Development in Uganda




Stutzman Jones, Emily

Type of Degree



Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology


Donor interest in the development of Sub-Saharan African aquaculture has shifted from the promotion of subsistence aquaculture to the support of small- to medium-scale commercial aquaculture enterprises with the hope of increasing Sub-Saharan Africa’s fish production. Fish farmer associations or producer organizations are viewed as a means for developing a commercial aquaculture sector in this region, though the empirical basis for the creation and perpetuation of these types of organizations remains elusive. This research presents four qualitative case studies profiling existing fish producer organizations of commercial fish farmers in Uganda. Two organizations operate are beginning to operate cage culture aquaculture systems, one is a fingerling producer, and the members of a fourth farm fish in ponds. We conclude that the umbrella organizations to which local fish farmer organizations vertically align themselves have important implications for the success of the local fish farmer organizations and their member farmers. Aquaculture-specific umbrella organizations contribute to the success of local member organizations and growth of a productive aquaculture sector more than umbrella organizations which address general issues like poverty or environmental conservation. Additionally, the governments and NGOs at work in Uganda inefficiently promote aquaculture through distorted incentive systems that financially and politically reward fish farmers for activities besides fish production. Organizations that actually grew and marketed fish avoid distorted incentive systems, accepting government assistance only when it directly improves their fish farm operations. Other farmer groups seemed to wait for direct subsidization and would not move forward on the merits of the fish enterprise alone. In the four cases examined, training fish farmers, providing quality information, cost sharing, and advocating for the aquaculture sector, not donor seeking, are the top priorities in productive fish farmer organizations.