Panama helping subsistence farmers boost tilapia production

Panama's Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MIDA) announced plans last month to help subsistence farmers in that country mass-produce tilapia for domestic consumption.

The Water Resources Authority of Panama and a fingerling production company will help producers from the central province of Coclé to improve and promote their product on the market, Panama Today reported.

Approximately 20 to 30 metric tons of tilapia are consumed annually in Panama, most of it imported, the news site noted.

Under the new arrangement, farmers from the Coconan district of Penonomé and La Pintada will also soon begin production with 60,000 fingerlings per month. Investments in the new drive for production will vary according to the type of fish farm where the fingerlings are being introduced and the farmer's resources, according to the newspaper.

Aquaculture was introduced formally into Panama during the early 1970s, as a means of solving the nutritional requirements of poor communities, according to The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Currently, aquaculture systems in Panama range from subsistence and extensive to semi-intensive, generally marketed locally. The estimated productive areas total 151.4 hectares of ponds and 84.7 hectares of reservoirs.

In 2013, the country imported approximately USD 1 million (EUR 816,160) and exported approximately USD 2 million (EUR 1,632,000) in tilapia. Most exports are from reservoir-type operations.


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