By EDDIE OSIFELO
THE Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) stands ready to benefit the country’s economy and food security for students in schools.
Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) Permanent Secretary, Dr Christian Ramofafia explained this when asked by Member of Parliament for Temotu Nende, Commins Mewa, on the long-term benefits of Tilapia, during the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament last week.
The PAC was enquiring into the 2023 Appropriation Bill 2022 budget, tabled by Minister of Finance and Treasury, Harry Kuma recently.
Mr Ramofafia said tilapia is not a popular part of the diet for Solomon Islanders, especially this tilapia they are planning to import.
He said it is a new brand tilapia called GIFT tilapia, not yet in Solomon Islands.
“It’s not the small tilapia we have here.
“It is a very unique fish, demanded overseas and high level too,” he added.
Furthermore, Ramofafia said the country has an opportunity to export the GIFT tilapia.
“Arrangement we put in place is to work with every farmer to grow the fish hub, improve to market level and so that we can export.
“For us, we see it as very important opportunity for our people to engage in economic activities,” he added.
Apart from export, Ramofafia said their intention also is to work with schools to give them a little bit of protein in terms of fish.
“Otherwise, they eat noodles all the time.
“That one is important protein security for our schools,” he added.
MFMR recently completed a laboratory and hatchery facility at Aruligo in north west Guadalcanal.
The GIFT tilapia is a result of cross breed between tilapias from Egypt and Philippines.
It is also referred to as the Nile Tilapia species.