Former builder turns to commercial tilapia farming
“I started with only four fish and now, I have around a thousand.”
Situated just outside the Western Provincial capital Gizo is a tilapia farm, owned by Jimmy Sigepitu from Ranogga island.
Mr Sigepitu 71, started the farm in 2007.
“I am a builder by profession and had the idea soon after i retired. I didn’t intend at first to make it into a commercial business. I just liked the idea.”
He dug ten ponds which took him a year and a half to complete, and planted water lilies in them.
“Then I got the fish from Mile Six, just outside Gizo”, he said. “They multiplied very fast.”
After more than 10 years, Mr Sigepitu hopes to turn the farm into a commercial business.
“I want to raise the fish inside a large raised up brick pond, where i can properly select them after a few months and put them in a separate pond.
“That way they will grow to their full size and i can sell them.”
But he said money is an issue.
“I’ve been to the fishery authorities. Due to shortage of funds, i haven’t received any financial support yet.”
Mr Sigepitu’s farm over the years helped to sustain his family.
“We fry or cook the fish on hot stones. Lovely taste. Tilapia is cold, you have to add some salt to it.”
Mr Sigepitu reflected the farm is an example of food security.
“When Solomon Islands becomes developed and we have factories, there will be lots of pollution in our seas. We will loose our fish.
“We need to start finding alternative ways to sustain our livelihood and that is what I am trying to do.”