The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will be embarking on a campaign next year aimed at increasing the production and consumption of tilapia as part of measures to grow the aquaculture industry.
Making the disclosure after a tour of the Longville Park Farms in Clarendon on Monday (December 28), Portfolio Minister, Hon. Floyd Green, noted that enormous opportunities exist for local tilapia and it is one of the subsectors that have seen growth despite the challenges brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We are going to be doing a massive promotional drive for consumption and to dispel the myths, because the myths not only affect consumption, they affect people going into the industry. We want more people to go into the industry to fill the demand and to tap into the export market,” he pointed out.
Noting that there is huge demand for freshwater fish, Minister Green said that “unlike in other areas where COVID has created a challenging environment, this is one of the areas that we have seen growth”.
“We are seeing a 50 per cent to 100 per cent increase in demand for the fish,” he said, adding that the Ministry’s hatchery will be expanded to meet the growing needs of the sector.
He lauded the operators of Longville Park Farms for employing the use of technology in the production of tilapia in order to make the facility profitable and sustainable.
Owner of the farm, Donovan “Donnie” Bunting, pointed out that the aquaculture industry is a source of employment for many Jamaicans.
He said that farming tilapia is “economically sustainable”, noting that the fish can be grown on a totally vegetarian diet.
Mr. Bunting said he wants to see a thriving tilapia sector that “employs hard-working Jamaicans and produces a sustainable, healthy, environmentally friendly, locally produced protein”.
“I am willing to share the extensive knowledge and data that I have amassed to fellow farmers and agriculture researchers,” he added.