Raising standards in Ugandan fish processing

Raising standards in Ugandan fish processing

The Ugandan fish industry worked together and adopted new technologies to enable it to recover from crisis and become the country’s leading exporter.

The introduction of international fish standards created a severe crisis in the Uganda fish industry in the late 1990s, with widespread loss of jobs, livelihoods and export revenues.

The EU, in partnership with other international donors, helped the sector to recover by providing technical assistance to the government. Activities involved collaboration across the entire value chain – suppliers, fish-processing firms, buyers – foreign companies, policy makers, as well as international development agencies.

National authorities supported technological change by strengthening the inspection process through increased oversight and by designating and approving laboratories. They helped improve infrastructure and sanitary conditions at transportation sites and provided the knowledge infrastructure for proper handling, packaging and transport of fish.

These actions enabled the Ugandan fish industry to improve the quality of their products and comply with international standards, making it a major economic driver and source of income.


  • Uganda’s fish exports have grown from around €12 million in 1994 to just under €100 million in recent years.
  • Fish-processing plants have adopted and learned to comply with the higher food safety procedures and standards; and the taste, color, smell, texture and nutritional value of the fish has improved.
  • Fish exports account for more than 6% of national income. An estimated 700,000 Ugandans are involved in fisheries-related employment.
  • The growth of the fisheries sector has also contributed to food security, with fish being the most important source of animal protein in Uganda available to the national population.