Farmers’ Diaries: Morena Khashane

Morena Khashane, Port Alfred, Eastern Cape

We are a tilapia outgrower farm based in Port Alfred. Production is ongoing and we have fish of various sizes and ages at any given time. Currently, we stock up every month, buying fingerlings from Rivendell Hatchery in Grahamstown. We produce 20t to 30t of fish a month, but we aim to produce 100t a month by midyear. The fingerlings arrive on the farm weighing between 15g and 20g and are put on 1mm starter pellets while they’re in the nursery tanks for at least two months.

You must feed tilapia at least about 4% of their body weight. We feed them this specialised feed at least three times a day. After three or four months, when they weigh between 100g and 150g, the fish are moved to grower tanks, where they’re put on 3mm grower pellets. After three to four months they’re ready for harvest at between 250g and 350g. We monitor their growth every second week and grade them every second month by sorting them according to size.

Harvesting is done every week to supply various retailers in East London and Port Elizabeth. Some clients prefer smaller fish, whereas others like bigger ones. A local chef is also helping us promote tilapia. South Africa has one of the lowest consumption rates of fish per capita in the world.

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