Accessibility, quality and competing uses of silver cyprinid (Rastrineobola argentea) from selected markets of Kampala and Masindi.
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Silver cyprinid (Rastrineobola argentea) is a small pelagic fish with several competing uses, and ranks third of the top three commercial fish species landed from Lake Victoria. This study investigated the level of contaminants, competing uses and accessibility of silver cyprinid in two markets from Kampala (Kalerwe and Kibuye) and Masindi main market. In each of these markets, a 1.0 kg sample was picked from 18 traders, and analyzed for physical contaminants by sorting and weighing them using a weighing balance. Data were collected on origin, quantities of silver cyprinid received per week and uses. Data were collected using a questionnaire administered to individual traders. Physical contaminants included sand (0.05, 0.01 0.00) kg, mayflies (0.03, 0.016, 0.01) kg and snail shells (0.004, 0.02, 0.03) kg from Kalerwe, Kibuye and Masindi main markets respectively. Snail shells were most dominant than mayflies; Kampala markets obtained silver cyprinid from Lake Victoria (Kasenyi, Kiyindi and Kikondo) whereas Masindi main market received consignments from Lake Albert (Panyimur, Wanseko, Kabolwa). Kibuye and Kalerwe markets had sold larger quantities of silver cyprinid sold per week (i.e., about 1000 kg) than Masindi main market where 870 kg. Most of the purchased silver cyprinid was intended for human consumption (95.5% in Kalerwe, 94.4% in Kibuye and 96% in Masindi main market), the rest (4.5%, 5.6% and 3.9%) being for animal feed production. Over 90% of the silver cyprinid in Kampala and Masindi main markets is intended for human consumption. Less than5% of silver cyprinid in these markets is for animal feed production. The silver cyprinid sold in Kalerwe, Kibuye and Masindi main markets contains physical contaminants such as sand, mayflies and snail shells which deter it suitability for the intended uses (human consumption or animal feed production). The volumes of silver cyprinid purchased per week are higher in Kampala markets than in Masindi main market suggesting better accessibility in Kampala than Masindi. Therefore, quality control of silver cyprinid should be emphasized right from harvesting through processing to marketing, to ensure minimal quality deterioration. Fishers and processors of silver cyprinid need to be sensitized about the sources of contaminants and how they get into the fish during processing. Additionally, traders should set mechanisms to consistently demand for quality x silver cyprinid and probably reject adulterated products with sand, shells or mayflies. This approach will create feed back to the processors leasing to hygienic processing of the products. To sustain high proportion of silver cyprinid meant for human consumption, emphasis should be put on maintaining quality processing, handling and storage.