Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development

Farming the Aquatic Chicken

Improved tilapia in the Philippines

Sivan Yosef

Key period: 1988–1997

Geographic region: Philippines

The intervention: The Genetic Improvement of Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) project served as a launching point for tropical finfish genetic improvement around the world. Based on selective breeding of Nile tilapia, the GIFT project succeeded in producing tilapia that grows faster and has a higher survival rate, thus increasing fish yields dramatically. Between 1990 and 2007, tilapia production in the Philippines increased by 186 percent, while costs of producing tilapia declined by 32 to 35 percent. The stable, low price of GIFT-derived fish has made it an extremely popular protein source among an estimated 19 to 23 million poor consumers. These fish strains now comprise 68 percent of total tilapia seed produced in the Philippines.

Book Chapter:
Farming the Aquatic Chicken: Improved tilapia in the Philippines
Sivan Yosef
Download (PDF 421K)

Discussion Paper:
Rich food for poor people: Genetically improved tilapia in the Philippines
Yosef, Sivan. 2009. IFPRI Discussion Paper 925.
Download (PDF 582K)