Genetically improved farmed tilapia helps address world hunger

Liza Mayer
October 01, 2017
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GIFT variety of tilapia can grow to market size (600-700 gm) within six months of crop duration and can yield 3-4 tons/acre/crop
GIFT variety of tilapia can grow to market size (600-700 gm) within six months of crop duration and can yield 3-4 tons/acre/crop

A genetically improved farmed tilapia breed known for fast growth and high yield is helping address world hunger and reduce poverty.


Twenty-thousand genetically improved farmed tilapia (GIFT) fingerlings were given to four fish farmers in the Indian state of Odisha as part of WorldFish’s effort to help the poor through fisheries and aquaculture.

WorldFish, a non-profit group based in Malaysia, developed the GIFT variety of tilapia over the last three decades by employing selective breeding techniques, said The Pioneer. The GIFT tilapia is the most widely farmed tilapia variety across the globe; it can grow to market size (600-700 gm) within six months of crop duration and can yield 3-4 tons/acre/crop, the report added.

“The GIFT variety of fish is disease-resistant and well-known for uniform growth and high survival rate. They attain full growth in five to six months,” Satish Ranjan Das, the regional representative of WorldFish, told Orissa Post.

The fingerlings were from the hatchery at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture in India.

The participating farms are licensed by local authorities to farm tilapia and are implementing  the required bio-security measures, says The Pioneer. WorldFish will provide the farmers with technical assistance and will be supported for proper implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) and in marketing their produce in local fish markets.

The introduction of the GIFT tilapia to farmers in Odisha is in line with the state’s 2015 strategy to double the fish production and farmer income over the next five years.

The pilot project will be reviewed and, depending on the results, may be introduced to other Indian states, say reports.

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