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Feb 3, 2017

Taiwan and Belize Mark Success with Tilapia

A five million dollar investment from Taiwan in the local aquaculture industry is coming to a successful end. In 2012, Taiwan invested and established a tilapia hatchery in the Cayo District which has generated a hundred and fifty tons of fresh tilapia. The project has assisted more than a hundred tilapia producers and created jobs for over a hundred Belizeans. This morning the project was officially handed over to the government of Belize and News Five’s Duane Moody was there. Here’s his report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Tilapia – it is often described as a muddy flavored fish found primarily in rivers and ponds. But a new agricultural project of the Government is expected to change that outlook. Since May of 2015, following the construction of a state-of-the-art tilapia hatchery in Central Farm, Cayo, farm-grown tilapia fingerlings—without the muddy-flavor—have been distributed to over a hundred and twenty farmers across the length and breadth of the country. After a six-month period, the fish are harvested and sold to local and international markets.

 

Hsin Jui Hung

Hsin Jui Hung, Project Manager, G.O.B./ROC Aquaculture Project

“Tilapia farming is one of the most popular agriculture with fresh water in the world. The tilapia is good to survive in different condition, it is growing fast and with lower technical barriers and it has a friendly taste. There are so many people that don’t like to eat the marine food because of the taste but this time they really accept and eat the tilapia dish.”

 

Charles Liu

Charles Liu, Taiwanese Ambassador to Belize

“This joint venture is a testimony to the philosophy of our bilateral cooperation; that is to work jointly to engage in aquacultures is far more effective and better way. Through technology transfer and capacity building, Belize and Taiwan are now able to achieve the goal of our sustainable development. After a five year period and a two point five million U.S. dollar investment from Taiwan, the Belize-Taiwan Aquaculture project is going to be concluded in this month and handed over to the government of Belize.”

 

The aquaculture project between the Governments of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Belize first came up back in May 2009 during an official visit of then-Taiwanese President Ma Ying Jeou, who committed to improving the tilapia business in Belize and assist farmers. Three years later, an agreement was signed between both governments for the start of the five-year project to facilitate the development of the small-scale tilapia farming industry within Belize’s agricultural sector. The project, which comes to an official end on February twelfth, is the beginning of a giant industry says Agriculture Minister Godwin Hulse.

 

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture

“This is a private-public partnership and there is space here also for private-private partnership. Private-private partnership in the sense of feed production; private-private partnership in the sense of marketing and of course public-private partnership through this facility, through our extension service, through our own continued research, through financing through agencies like the DFC and through continued research and development.”

 

According to Minister Hulse, any project must be economically and socially acceptable as well as legally doable.  Extension, marketing, research and data collection and finance make up the strategy that is being put in place for the project to remain successful. The new facilities allow for this to take place.

 

Miguel Sosa

Miguel Sosa, Project Coordinator, Aquaculture Program

“This project has worked in the production of fingerlings from the hatchery. It has worked in extension services to the farmers meaning that we not only sold them the fingerlings but we visited them at least once a month to ensure that they had the water correct, that the fish were being fed sufficiently and we saw that the growth was okay because we wanted them to reach about a pound in five to six months. That would make it profitable and you could have two crops out of a year.”

 

To date, almost half a million small fish have been sold, at fifteen cents each, to farmers across the country. Duane Moody for News Five.

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