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In a first in State, tilapia fish seed released in farms
Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT), a fast-growing, high-yielding and value buy variety of fish, has been introduced in Odisha by the Department of Fisheries and Animal Resources Development in technical collaboration with the WorldFish of Malaysia.
Director of Fisheries BK Upadhyaya has released the first batch of 20,000 GIFT tilapia seed in three acres of beneficiary farms at Basantapur village under Jagatsinghpur block. The GIFT seed was procured from MPEDA-RGCA tilapia hatchery, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.
GIFT is introduced in the State in support of the Odisha State Fisheries Policy – 2015, as a species diversification strategy to double the fish production and farmer income over next 5 years.
The programme meticulously follows the responsible tilapia farming guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. Since tilapia is an exotic variety of fish, all the participating farms have been licenced to farm tilapia by the Directorate of Fisheries.
All the demonstration farms are implementing the notified bio-security measures. Farmers will be supported for proper implementation of Better Management Practices (BMPs) and also, farmers will be assisted to market the tilapia in local fish markets.
During 2017-18, GIFT tilapia farming will be demonstrated in 11 districts of the State covering a total area of 33 acres thus producing 99 metric tons of tilapia valuing Rs 99 lakh.
The Odisha Government is extending financial assistance to the demonstration farmers (50 per cent of the operational cost) for procurement of GIFT tilapia seed and feed.
Further, to boost the tilapia production in the State, the Government plans to construct a world-class state of art GIFT Tilapia Multiplication Center and Hatchery at Kausalyaganga fish farm with the technical assistance from WorldFish during this year with the financial support from RKVY. This hatchery will have a capacity of 5 million tilapia fry per year.
The GIFT variety of tilapia is developed by WorldFish, Malaysia over last 3 decades by employing selective breeding technology. Presently, it is the most widely farmed tilapia variety across the globe. The GIFT can grow to market size (600-700 gm) within 6 months of crop duration and can yield 3-4 tons/acre/crop.
At present, its cost of production is approximately Rs 60/kg and farm-gate price is Rs 100/kg. Therefore, with a yield of 6-8 tons/acre/year in 2 crops per year, farmers can easily earn a profit of Rs 2.40 – 3.20 lakh per acre per year, which is significantly higher than earnings from present varieties of farmed fish.
At retail, it is sold at about Rs 130-140 per kg, thus having a potential to attract the mass market in Odisha. It has very good consumer acceptance qualities such as attractive light grey coloration, tasty white meat with single bone. Its meat is very firm and juicy which is most suitable for Odia style of cooking fish curries.
According to the UN-FAO, tilapia is one of the fastest growing varieties of farmed fish around the world, and along with carps and catfish, it will take a share of more than 60 per cent of the total global farmed fish production.
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