Multi-million dollar tilapia hatchery project launched

Ground was broken this afternoon in Central Farm, Cayo district for a million dollar tilapia hatchery center. The facility, which is part of an aquaculture project, is being built on government land at Baking Pot – near the ferry – at an estimated cost of US$2.5 million. Guest speaker at the event was the Minister of Agriculture, Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega who praised the collaborative effort between his government and the Repubic of China, Taiwan’s Technical Mission which will see the realization of the bold new project.

The aquaculture project, which is a 5 year venture, started in February 2012 and should culminate in 2017. As explained by Taiwan’s ambassador to Belize David Wu, the Tilapia hatchery building which will consist of 18 ponds, reservoir and sedimentation pond, nursery and fry concrete tanks, will greatly assist small farmers with fingerlings at a reduced cost to make this kind of backyard venture more economically viable.

The aquaculture project is expected, at its peak, to “produce one million “all male” high quality tilapia fingerlings to assist the development of the on-growing small-scale tilapia farming operations in Belize.” It will also “promote the use of modern tilapia culture technology, increases the annual tilapia production, gradually decrease price in fingerling production.” Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega told West Vision that one of the prohibitive factors in tilapia farming is the cost of commercial feed and that the aquaculture project will, according to its stated objectives, promote “the use of alternative feed to reduce commercial feed cost by 30-35% and to supplement the meat protein intake to families in rural areas through improved tilapia production in the region.”

The construction of the hatchery and ponds is expected to be completed by the middle of January, 2014.