The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is to embark on a campaign this year aimed at increasing the production and consumption of tilapia fish as part of measures to grow the aquaculture industry in Jamaica.
Written by: staff / LoopJamaica.com
In making the disclosure after a tour of Longville Park Farms in South East Clarendon on Monday, December 28, Portfolio Minister, Floyd Green, said enormous opportunities exist for local tilapia, and it is one of the sub-sectors 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 stated.
In noting that there is a huge demand for freshwater fish, 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 percent to 100 percent increase in demand for the fish,” he said, adding that the ministry’s hatchery is to be expanded to meet the growing needs of the sector.
Green 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.
The owner of the farm, Donovan ‘Donnie’ Bunting, said the aquaculture industry is a source of employment for many Jamaicans.
He said farming tilapia is “economically sustainable”, noting that the fish can be grown on a totally vegetarian diet.
Bunting said he wants to see a thriving tilapia sector that “employs hardworking Jamaicans and produces a sustainable, healthy, environmentally friendly, locally-produced protein.”
He added that “I am willing to share the extensive knowledge and data that I have amassed with fellow farmers and agriculture researchers.”