Report Synopsis

Competitiveness of Brazilian Tilapia Farming

Mauro Nakata

Brazil is the fourth largest producer of tilapia in the world after China, Indonesia and Egypt. Brazilian tilapia farming is a relatively new industry. However, tilapia is already the main species for Brazilian aquaculture. The country has the main resources required for the tilapia sector to grow but achieving its potential will depend on how the industry faces its future challenges.

The objective of this Nuffield report is to have a global view of tropical aquaculture and, with this, understand why the current industry leaders are successful, what are the main threats to Brazilian aquaculture and what public policies could better support the industry’s growth.

The author has visited farms and processing plants in the United States of America (USA), Colombia, Norway, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Australia, and Japan to understand the commonalities that have made their industries successful and what are the experiences that can be valuable to Brazilian tilapia industry.

Three common characteristics were consistently identified to achieve competitiveness within the tilapia industry, including:

1. Do the basics right on-farm.

2. Understand the farming environment to achieve optimal production.

3. Complete use of the fish.

Other recommendations include the need to focus on domestic and international marketing and branding as well as further research on tilapia genetic improvement and nutrition. Water quality issues are as important to the industry longevity as financial results. Aquaculture can impact the water it utilizes and the feed ingredients it uses can be questioned if they are sustainable. Therefore, it is important to demonstrate responsibility for water used, and source only renewable sources of feed ingredients. Increasing biosecurity regulations, investment in disease monitoring and incentivizing the use of vaccines should be a joint commitment from industry together with government.

Finally, a SWOT analysis has been produced to evaluate the competitiveness of the Brazilian tilapia industry in Chapter 3.

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