Tilapia will play a critical role in meeting fish demand in Bangladesh by 2041

Bangladesh produced 45.03 metric tons of fish in 2019-20, with Tilapia accounting for 3.71 metric tons. As a single species, it meets 8.24 percent of overall fish demand. Its contribution is expected to rise in the following days.

Feed the Future is an important initiative. Bangladesh Aquaculture Activity (BAA) collaborated with BRAC Fisheries Enterprise to distribute enhanced and disease-free mixed-sex fry to multiplier hatcheries as brood of the Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) strain. Its goal is to provide high-quality seeds that would help farmers active in Tilapia culture in Bangladesh increase their productivity and profitability.

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As part of this initiative, the Activity conducted the final workshop on GIFT production and dissemination of improved quality seeds to multiplier hatcheries for brood-stock development. BRAC Fisheries Enterprise organized the event on December 27, 2021, in BRAC Centre Inn.

The event’s chief guest was Mr. Azizul Haque, Director (Inland Fisheries), Department of Fisheries (DoF). The special guest was Prof. Dr. A. M. Shahabuddin, Dean, Faculty of Fisheries, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University. The session also included Dr. Benoy Barman, Senior Scientist, WorldFish, Md. Musharraf Hossain, Deputy General Manager, BRAC Fisheries Enterprise, and Md. Emdad Hossain, Senior Program Manager, BAA, WorldFish.

Dr. Benoy Barman set out the platform of the event with his presentation which provided information on the historical evolution of Tilapia, GIFT, and its dissemination in Bangladesh. “Considering geographical condition”, he said- “GIFT dissemination strategy to be set so that more farmers can be reached.”

Two hatchery owners from Jashore and Satkhira spoke about their positive experiences with GIFT culture and expressed gratitude to World

Fish and BRAC for establishing and promoting the concept. They seek assistance from appropriate authorities to make the process easier by sharing information on Tilapia export and its benefits.

Md. Anisur Rahman, Satkhira District Fisheries Officer (DFO), and Anowar Kabir, Magura District Fisheries Officer (DFO), presented their field experiences with GIFT farmers, praising the improved quality over the existing Tilapia strain on the market. They thanked WorldFish and advised everyone to battle falsehoods about Tilapia more aggressively.

Emdad Hossain, Senior Program Manager, WorldFish acknowledged USAID in his speech for financing BAA. He shared, “WorldFish has started working with GIFT from 1994. Till date, we have succeeded to disseminate this strain to the remote corner of the country with continuous effort. USAID financing made us able to contribute in fulfillment of country’s nutrition demand.”

In his speech of Special guest, Prof. Dr. A. M. Shahabuddin, Dean, Faculty of Fisheries, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University informed, “Tilapia is playing a vital role in making Bangladesh self-sufficient and fourth in fish production globally. Export potentiality of Tilapia is almost untouched. We should pay more attention to this aspect”.

Mr. Azizul Haque, Director (Inland Fisheries), DoF lauded the initiative taken by WorldFish and BRAC. Such initiatives will contribute to Bangladesh vision 2041 when the demand for fish will be 90 MT per annum, double our current production. He encourages all stakeholders to do their best and showcase the success of GIFT culture for future encouragement.

Mohammad Shawquat Ali, Tilapia Breeding Program Specialist of BAA facilitated a Q&A session. Expert panel and farmers exchanged their expertise in the session. Md. Musharraf Hossain, Deputy General Manager, BRAC Fisheries Enterprise delivered his vote of thanks with concluding remarks.

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