Jona’s Interest In Tilapia Farming


Switching to tilapia fish farming was a leap of faith for Jona Dilo, 35, of Uciwai Village in Yako, Nadi, but he was ready for the chal­lenge.

Situated 70km from the main road on the way towards Nadi, the nine acre land that Mr Dilo had leased from his clan has two ponds approximately 600 square meter (30x20) tilapia ponds.

Like any farming project, tila­pia fish farming was something new for him but his keen inter­est towards this new venture kept him motivated in trying to learn more about tilapia fish farming.

Mr Dilo attended workshops organised by the Ministry of Fisheries and sought technical advice from those farmers that have been in the business for some time.

“There is cluster group around this settlement, we learn how to breed tilapia, how we feed them until harvest and it is so helpful for new farmers like us. At the cluster meeting we share ex­periences and learn from each other on best practices and way forward. For me I could not stand to see idle land and then I managed to lease this four acre land for 30 years. I requested for assistance from the Ministry of Fisheries under their Food Se­curity Project Assistance Grant during the 2018-2019 financial year.”

The Ministry of Fisheries as­sisted Mr Dilo with digging the two ponds and provided 3400 baby tilapia in July this year.

“I would like to thank the min­istry for their assistance and technical advice they have pro­vided for new farmers like us.

“There is a lot to learn from this new concept of aquaculture farming but I believe to achieve success we need to challenge ourselves with new opportuni­ties.

“Just into the second month of farming, we have managed to separate the matured ones in the second pond, they will be kept there for another month before they are transferred to another pond.”

One of the major challenges farmers like Mr Dilo is waiting for approval of loans to further enhance and expand his aqua­culture farm.
“I have applied for loan from the Fiji Development Bank (FDB) to construct a farm house so that I will be able to look af­ter my farm because you never know when people might steal from your farm given its loca­tion.

According to the bank they are still in the process of review­ing my application, once every­thing is finalised then they will provide me with a feedback.”

Mr Dilo hopes to earn good returns from his first harvest in January next year.

He has also challenged local farmers to take up one of the two best ways to utilise idle land- either opt for root crop farming or tilapia.