WorldFish signed an inclusive legal agreement with Premium Aquaculture Limited for the transfer of Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) to Nigeria. This agreement will augur the establishment of GIFT-based aquaculture industry in Nigeria. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are collaborating with WorldFish and PAL on this endeavor and hope to have WorldFish/PAL GIFT tilapia in Nigerian fish markets by late 2023.
GIFT fry will be transferred from WorldFish Headquarters in Malaysia to Premium Aquaculture Limited’s secured quarantine facility in Nigeria’s Ogun State under a robust environmental risk management program and strategy. Premium Aquaculture, a subsidiary of Stallion Group, is the largest tilapia producer in Nigeria. In collaboration with PAL and the government of Nigeria, WorldFish has completed a full-scale GIFT transfer risk assessment and the fry transfer will take place in May 2022.
“This technical collaboration is poised to propagate and disseminate WorldFish’s 17th generation fast-growing strain of GIFT tilapia in Nigeria. We are highly confident that it will boost tilapia production in the country as well as farmers’ income,” said Premium Aquaculture Limited senior manage, Govinda Raju.
The agreement also involves the establishment of a parental broodstock as well as breeding, propagating and disseminating fry and fingerling across Nigeria. Regular health checks will be conducted during the growth of the fry. Second-generation progeny resulting from the original stock from Malaysia will be transferred to other states for breeding and grow-out in both ponds and cage systems in Nigeria.
This is the first private sector partnership between WorldFish and a hatchery operator. It reflects WorldFish’s intention to commercialize its genetic assets, work toward financially sustainable operations and reduce its dependency on donor funding for its genetic R&D.
“This agreement reflects WorldFish’s ambitions for future growth and investment in the African continent and its confidence to impact at scale to support small-scale aquaculture producers charter their pathway out of poverty,” said WorldFish project leader for the Bill and Melinda Gates Project, Colin Shelley.
WorldFish Nigeria country manager, Sunil Siriwardena, explained that “in partnership with BMGF and USAID, WorldFish is investing in an R&D program that will provide the foundation for establishing a sustainable private sector-based GIFT seed and grow-out industry in Nigeria. This program is designed to (a) prepare and bio-securely transfer GIFT from Malaysia to Nigeria, (b) establish a GIFT breeding population for disease-free broodstock/seed dissemination and (c) establish a healthy GIFT seed industry/business and GIFT-seed-based smallholder out-grower business/industry in Nigeria.”