Tilapia Fish Farming


Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Provide a village with a fish pond and you feed them for a lifetime.

Over the past few years the Haitian Pilgrims of St. Phillip have worked to help the people of Boileau feed themselves with some agricultural programs.  We have provided education, guidance, tools, seed and some livestock to assist this effort.

Recently another opportunity to move forward in our efforts to provide food has surfaced. Tilapia farms can be developed and provide food in a relatively short time period.  The fish provide a healthy, high-quality source of protein; the farm creates
employment opportunities; and the ponds are enduring, capable of being a continual source of nourishment and income.

Haitians…especially the children and the elderly…are plagued with the problems of under and malnutrition.  In the children, this manifests in stunted growth, an inability to fight simple childhood diseases, and – ultimately – in death. Tilapia are known for their rich nutritional value and quick maturity, and as a result have become the fish of choice to help place the people of Haiti back on the road to health.

Tilapia is a lean, white, flaky fish that is high in protein, low in sodium and fat, and extremely low in mercury.  They contain Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, B complex vitamins, and minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium and phosphorous. These disease-resistant fish are easy to raise and reproduce at remarkable rates.



Tilapia farms generally consist of at
least three ponds that are rotated between stages of reproduction, nurturing fingerlings, and harvesting mature tilapia for distribution. The entire process, from start to finish, takes from four to six months depending on temperature. Once the fish have grown – from one-half to one pound – they will be ready for market.

The average size of the ponds is 5,000 square feet, which can accommodate nearly 7,000 fish.  A portion of the catch will be used to feed the needy in Boileau.  The remaining fish will be sold in the surrounding communities at affordable prices to ensure that it is easily accessible to the residents. Still, enough income will be generated to pay the operating  expenses of the farm and reinvest back into the production process



Although tilapia can be raised almost anywhere, there are three factors that are important in the selection of the pond: land that is easily excavated, soil that is not porous, and an abundant source of clean water.  Ideally, it should be located where water can be piped in from a nearby river.  However, a well can be
utilized if it is installed at a higher altitude than the ponds.  The down flow will oxygenate the water as it fills the ponds.  Appropriate and is available in Boileau for a group of three ponds.

The ponds will be installed with a drain valve to aid in emptying them at the end of each cycle.  At that time, the pond is cleaned with lime and refilled.



Around the world, Taiwan is working to eliminate poverty and create prosperity. To this end, Taiwan has been managing fisheries and agricultural missions in developing nations for several years. The nation’s primary work in these areas is done through the International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF).

ICDF is successfully conducting a number of programs in Central America and the Caribbean.  ICDF Taiwan will provide the expertise and product to establish tilapia farms and train the staffs in Haiti. They will also be responsible for periodically visiting the site, until the first harvest, to make sure everything is running smoothly.  We are very fortunate to be able to partner with an organization of their reputation.

Who are the people of Haiti?

Although Haiti averages about 302 people per square kilometer, its population is concentrated most heavily in urban areas, coastal plains, and valleys. About 95% of Haitians are of African descent. The rest of the population is mostly of mixed Caucasian-African ancestry. A few are of European or Levantine heritage. Sixty percent of the population lives in rural areas. French is one of two official languages, but it is spoken fluently by only about 10% of the people. All Haitians speak Creole, the country’s other official language. English and Spanish are increasingly used as second languages among the young and in the business sector.

The dominant religion is Roman Catholicism. Increasing numbers of Haitians have converted to Protestantism through the work of missionaries active throughout the country. Much of the population also practices voudou (voodoo), recognized by the government as a religion in April of 2003. Haitians tend to see no conflict in these African-rooted beliefs coexisting with Christian faith.

Although public education is free, the cost is still quite high for Haitian  families who must pay for uniforms, textbooks, supplies, and other inputs. Due to weak state provision of education services, private and parochial schools account for approximately 90% of primary schools, and only 65% of primary school-aged children are actually enrolled. At the secondary level, the figure drops to around 20%. Less than 35% of those who enter will complete primary school. Though Haitians place a high value on education, few can afford to send their children to secondary school and primary school enrollment is dropping due to economic factors. Remittances sent by Haitians living abroad are important in
paying educational costs.