Worldwide, tilapia is the second most cultivated fish.
This should not surprise people who are familiar with this breed of fish.
They are commonly known as the aquatic chicken because they are easy enough to breed and can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions.
The female tilapia is a fierce mother, guarding its brood by putting the eggs in its mouth and refusing to eat for the duration of her pregnancy.
So in a carefully controlled environment, the survival rate of the eggs is very high.
Also, tilapias are resistant to parasites and diseases.
They are not very particular with space, and can grow even in tanks or even drums.
They are low-maintenance fishes as they feed mostly on plankton and other vegetable matter.
The Philippines is an archipelago consisting of over 7,000 islands.
It has a tropical climate with plenty of sources of water.
Fishing is one of its primary sources of food, and majority of Filipinos get their protein requirements from fish.
Tilapias live largely on fresh water and less commonly in brackish waters.
They like the tropical climate and thrive best in temperatures between 28-30'C.
It can tolerate cooler temperatures of up to 20'C, but its growth rate will be slower.
Plus, plankton, the preferred food of tilapias need sunlight to reproduce and grow.
Thus, you can easily see how a tropical country like the Philippines is ideal for a tilapia.
In the Philippines, where fresh bodies of water abound, growing tilapia is easy enough.
Some tilapia farmers with limited space have cultivated tilapia in drums.
This may be a bit extreme, and will have limited commercial application.
However, if you have space in your backyard, you can turn it into a tilapia farm.
About 2-3 tilapia can be cultivated for every square meter of space.
It does not need to be fancy, just make sure that there is access to fresh water and sunlight.
Dig a pond to about a meter deep, remove weeds and fertilize before stocking up.
Provide some sort of shade for the tilapia such as waterlily.
Feed the fish, fertilize the water properly and soon the pond will be ready for harvest.
With proper training, growing tilapia even in your backyard can be profitable.
It should be worth noting that the government has taken steps to help boost tilapia farming in the Philippines.
Its own Bureau of Fisheries conducts studies as to the best fingerlings to grow.
In fact, it introduced a new tilapia strain called GET EXCEL tilapia and actively participated in its dissemination around the country.
It also has hatcheries in strategic places and provides training in tilapia farming.
Its intervention has allowed tilapia farmers with limited resources a better chance.
The Philippines, being a third world country, has largely been written off in the international market.
However, due to the combination of hard work, ideal location and some government help, it has become one of the largest exporters of tilapia in the whole world.
There is a bright spot in its future for tilapia farming in the Philippines.
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