Tilapia production in Panama has increased in recent years, with over a million tonnes harvested in 2012, 94 percent higher than in 2011. However, the number of producers has thought to have declined.
The amount of fish sold last year was 681.053 kilos, 103 percent higher than that reported in 2011, reports PanamaAmerica.
Revenue from product sales in 2012 amounted to US$5,100,646 (€3,758,696.641) dollars, while in the previous year, revenue was US$2,569,759, (€1,893,670.826) an increase of 98 percent.
Despite the higher production, Juan Achurra, president of the Farmers Association, said the number of producers has declined and many have disappeared in recent years.
“Only big producers (over 300 hectares) have stayed in the business,” said Mr Achurra.
He argues that small and medium producers need to be granted soft loans, which allow them to introduce technology crops and help grow this depressed sector.
John Jorgensen, Fishery Officer of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that aquaculture in many countries has been used as a tool to provide support for low-income families. But there is a situation that discourages activity and has not allowed it to develop sustainably. The lack of continuity of projects is one of those factors that hinder aquaculture sustainability for the sector must be long term.
Government should therefore take the lead and lead the development plans, implement new technologies and make them available to producers, plus lower costs of inputs.