Wed | Oct 5, 2022

J’cans urged to increase tilapia farming

Published:Wednesday | September 21, 2022 | 12:05 AMAinsworth Morris/Staff Reporter
Dr Gavin Bellamy (left), chief executive officer of the National Fisheries Authority (NFA); Angela Patterson, director of corporate services at the NFA; and State Minister Franklin Witter share a light moment during the launch of the ‘Many Moods of Tilap
Dr Gavin Bellamy (left), chief executive officer of the National Fisheries Authority (NFA); Angela Patterson, director of corporate services at the NFA; and State Minister Franklin Witter share a light moment during the launch of the ‘Many Moods of Tilapia’, a cooking competition. The launch took place on Monday at the Farmers Training Centre, located in Twickenham Park, St Catherine.

Franklin Witter, minister of state in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, is calling on Jamaicans to raise and harvest more tilapia fish.

He was addressing the media at the launch of the Many Moods of Tilapia Cooking Competition at the Farmers’ Training Centre in St Catherine on Monday.

Since March 2022, the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) has been on a campaign to increase the consumption of tilapia that will ultimately drive the increase in production.

He said the call was another step in the NFA’s campaign to boost the aquaculture sector’s contribution to food security in Jamaica.

“Aquaculture, and tilapia farming in particular, represents one of the low-hanging fruits in the area of food security and nutrition. We have the land and we can find water to establish fish farms. It is also a viable business to which our entrepreneurs can be attracted. In fact, it epitomises the ‘Grow Smart. Eat Smart’ [campaign] mantra which is a pivotal tool in our food security toolkit,” he said.

“We want all Jamaicans to understand that food security is within our grasps … . Food security has become very important and imperative to Jamaica. This has reinforced the need for food diversification within the agriculture and fisheries sector,” Witter said.

Tilapia has been in Jamaica for some 40 years. The harvesting of the fish started as a project by the United States Agency for International Development.

The Many Moods of Tilapia Cooking Competition aims to unearth the creative and culinary skills needed to cook the item in homes across Jamaica as well as highlight the versatility of tilapia.

Jamaicans who can chef up creative dishes with the freshwater fish are being encouraged to submit recipes to the competition in the next four weeks, before entries close.

A cook-off will follow in December, where the winners will be selected. ainsworth.morris@gleanerjm.com