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India steps up GIFT tilapia production

22 May 2020, at 10:54am

India’s Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA), has announced plans to start producing genetically improved farm tilapia (GIFT) at its multi-species aquaculture complex at Vallarpadam, in Kochi.

The centre, which is the research arm of India's Marine Products Exports Development Authority plans to begin to produce juveniles from June 2020 in order to support Kerala's aquaculture sector.

The GIFT strain, developed by WorldFish, is among the most popular Nile tilapia strains to be produced globally
The GIFT strain, developed by WorldFish, is among the most popular Nile tilapia strains to be produced globally

© WorldFish

GIFT, which was originally developed by WorldFish, is a fast growing strain of tilapia, which is currently being selectively bred at the RGCA's Vijayawada facility, in Kochi.

TG Manoj Kumar, head of the Kochi facility, told the Times of India: "During the last financial year, we sold 3 million GIFT seeds from our Vijayawada centre through the Vallarpadam facility. This fiscal, we are targeting 5 million seeds. From June to October, we will supply GIFT seeds produced at Vallarpadam and from November to March, the seeds will be brought from Vijayawada."

RGCA is currently supplying 4 million tilapia juveniles to Kerala and an additional 2 million through the Tamil Nadu government's aquaculture facility in Krishna Giri. The remaining 6 million juveniles are supplied by producers in West Bengal, but farmers have been complaining about the quality of these, according to the Times of India.