Feed experiment to increase nutritional value of tilapia
WorldFish scientists will begin to experiment with feed ingredients that can increase the nutritional value of tilapia as part of a new project.
AquaLINC, funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), aims to increase supplies of fish that are more affordable and have a higher nutritional content for consumers in Egypt and Bangladesh. Implemented by WorldFish, the project will focus on developing production models for tilapia that meet the demands of resource poor consumers and are profitable for producers and retailers.
Using feed-additives to increase the Omega 3, and micronutrient content of farmed fish will have significant benefits for all, but especially for resource poor consumers who are more likely to be under nourished.
Recent WorldFish research in Egypt and Bangladesh suggests poor consumers typically prefer purchasing less expensive, smaller fish while aquaculture production systems in both countries are increasingly geared towards producing larger fish. Focusing on a popular farmed fish, tilapia, AquaLINC will examine the business case for how to increase the production and market for smaller fish.
Smaller fish which consume less feed and have shorter lifecycles may reduce the environmental footprint for fish production, another research area for the project.
Nigel Preston, Director General, WorldFish: “We are committed to innovations that will promote pro-poor fish value chains. Increased consumption of fish in nutritionally insecure parts of the world will improve food and nutrition security.”
AquaLINC will establish enabling conditions for the development and expansion of pro-poor tilapia value chains in Bangladesh and Egypt by testing the economic and technical feasibility of producing more nutrient-rich and smaller-sized fish and its acceptance by poor consumers. These innovations are expected to lead to: improved quality of fish; increased consumption of fish by the poor, particularly for nutritionally vulnerable populations (women of reproductive age and young children); and lower environmental impacts in fish production.
The three-year project will build on current research on the nutrition and health benefits of fish. It will also add to the research on increasing the affordability of fish for poor consumers and a growing body of work on the environmental impact of farmed fish production.