The second edition of India Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) Summit 2022 concluded recently in Kochi discussed a range of issues, including increasing the country’s share in GIFT exports and high seed and feed prices. The summit was organized under the aegis of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA) under the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA).
MPEDA Chairman K.N. Raghavan said the summit was part of the golden jubilee and silver jubilee celebrations of the MPEDA and the RGCA respectively. He added that there were interactions between aquaculture farmers, scientists from the MPEDA, and other institutions during the summit.
Following an appeal from farmers, the price of GIFT seeds from MPEDA’s multi-species hatchery on Vallarpadam island was reduced from ₹6 to ₹3.50. Mr. Raghavan said MPEDA was also aware that aquaculture feed cost was high, which was a matter of concern when it came to encouraging more people to take up fish farming.
Speakers at the summit pointed out how GIFT had become a fish of choice in markets such as the United States and European nations like Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. GIFT has been described as “aquatic chicken” for its quality and nutritional value. Compared to shrimp and fish like salmon, GIFT is much cheaper, making it popular in U.S. restaurants.
CheriachanMundoth, a tilapia farmer, said the high feed price and marketing difficulties posed a challenge to aqua farmers. However, he added that there had been a revival in the market of late. Tilapia used to be looked down upon in the past. “But those who have tasted GIFT are now more willing to buy the fish for its quality and taste,” he added.
RGCA sources said the center had been a quality seed supplier for fish such as sea bass, pearl spot, tilapia, and tiger shrimp. It is also the first multi-species hatchery in India that has helped thousands of aqua farmers with seed supplies.
Source: The Hindu