Taiwan helps Eswatini breed male fish

 Taiwan helps Eswatini breed male fish

Taiwan helps Eswatini breed male fish.

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In a bid to resuscitate the economy through aquaculture, Eswatini has set up a fish hatchery targeting to raise tonnes of more male fish than female.

With the help of the Republic of Taiwan, the ministry of agriculture ventured into this farming practice to transform the economy of the country by improving the nutritional status; enhancing poverty alleviation and promoting tourism.

Director of Agriculture and Extension Nelson Mavuso said government realized a gap in rearing fish yet it was one way through which the country could ensure food and nutrition security.

“We want to cater for people who are sensitive to red meat and those with compromised immunity.”

He said fish came out as the best option yet studies showed that there was a very low intake of fish among emaSwati.

Mavuso said a survey has shown that one liSwati eats between two and four kilograms of fish per year.

“This is because our fish industry is not developed and we are not producing enough fish.”

The Taiwanese have offered support and expertise in breeding fish.

The Shuenn-Der Yang, Rong-Hwa Chen and Kai-Chieh Chang from the Fisheries Research Institute shared how their country has been successfully breeding the Tilapia fish since 1946.

They said they have employed technology and techniques of growing the fish in such a way that they breed more male fish because it is meaty and it grows faster than female fish.

The experts said, “Tilapia is the most considerable amount of cultured fish in Taiwan, with an annual output value of about 100 million US dollars and a total output of 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes. About 45-50 per cent of Tilapia products in Taiwan are for export, and the product items are mainly frozen whole fish and fillets.”

The Taiwanese export the fish in different forms, which are frozen whole fish, fillets, other processed products such as smoked or canned products and the ready-to-eat packages.

“Also, the fish scales can be the raw material to extract collagen and the fish bones can be processed as materials for orthopedics and dentistry. In this respect, the whole fish utilization of Tilapia can help to reduce waste and therefore be considered as an environmental-friendly way of processing.”

They said because female Tilapia grow slowly than male, culture all-male Tilapia can bring a much higher yield and larger fish than bisexual Tilapia culture.

“Several techniques have been involved to get all-male Tilapia, including manual sexing, sex-reversal and hybridization.”

The government of Taiwan expressed pleasure at sharing the relevant experience on Tilapia farming and said it was looking forward to the in-depth discussions with their friends of Eswatini.

“I also hope that the experts and fish farmers of both countries can have the field visits in the future when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.”

Mavuso on the other hand said the aquaculture research and production centre in Malkerns will resume operations in a month’s time.

“The research centre will help will help come with improved fish breeds that can be used by farmers in their production. The proposed model of using a national hatchery with ground ponds, a demonstration hub farm, aquaculture farms and satellite farms can help the country in becoming self-sustainable.”

Taiwan is now boasting eight different species of tilapia fish at the moment through semi-intensive culture and intensive culture.

Some of the benefits of Tilapia fish are that it is cheap, it is abundant and it has a good source of lean protein.

Bonisile Makhubu

Bonisile Makhubu is a senior journalist at The Times of Swaziland Group of Newspapers, a company she has worked for over a period of 15 years now. She is based in the Eswatini News department which publishes the Saturday paper. She is also assistant Eswatini News Editor. In this department, she also ran the consumer watch column which focuses on consumer issues. Her specialty is investigative writing and reporting on health, education, women, and children’s issues, even though she has previously worked for the community news department and daily news department where she reported on courts, crime, and general news. She currently holds a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Eswatini and has attended a series of training programs on investigative journalism, reporting for SADC, and digital and online reporting. I have covered four SADC summits throughout the region. I have also traveled for short training and assignments in countries such as the US, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa while carrying out my duty as a journalist. Bing a mother of three children has also motivated her to remain dedicated to being the voice of the voiceless and to hold the public accountable and present truthful and educational information to the readers at all times.

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