Jconfarm Tilapia farm story, our story of how we started. Sometime around 1996 or it could have been 1994, anyway it was sometime between those dates that it began. When I say Jconfarm started at this time, I mean the farm started , the actual name was to follow later. We have a piece of land adjacent to where our original house, that was, at that time lying idle. So we wanted to plant something there or put it to
some use. Rice was the crop of choice, so we plowed the area and planted. It grew ok, well I thought it was ok but according to my wife it was not a good crop. I know absolutely nothing about rice so I was not much help with this enterprise. So I think it was only one crop or maybe two that we experimented with, but that was it.
Jconfarm Tilapia and the Concrete box
Around this time also, my wife had a small concrete box made in our “dirty kitchen“. For those who don’t know what a dirty kitchen is all about. It’s an area beside the house where all the cooking takes place, it’s certainly not dirty. The word “dirty” is actually a misnomer as normally they are very clean kitchens. Anyway getting back to the box, it was about four feet by three feet by about three feet high. She filled this with water and put some Tilapia (jconfarm tilapia) fingerlings into it. The fish thrived in that box.
Tilapia also known as Saint Peter’s fish needs relatively warm aerated water otherwise they will die. Some people will start a fish pond in a pool where the water does not get aerated. It will not work, the fish will not last very long. We have stopped selling fingerlings for this very reason. So many people have wanted to get fingerlings to start their own farm. We always advise them on how the water should be, but more often that not the fish do not survive. Tilapia are very adaptable fish and will tolerate a lot, but like everything else, they have their limits.
The start of the Jconfarm Tilapia Farm
The tilapia thrived. This adventure was so successful that my wife had a brainwave, to cultivate tilapia on a larger scale. The area that was the rice field earlier on in this story was just the place to do this. So she set to work and had a relatively small area prepared which had raised earth around the sides. This was to be the first fish pond, small and all as it was. It was a the start of the tilapia farm.
Water supply entry and exit
The irrigation canal was very close by, which feeds the many rice fields in this area and beyond. The irrigation department agreed that we could take a tap off the main canal to feed the pond. Now that we had a water supply entry, we needed the run off
water to go somewhere. We had to have a constant flow of water to maintain aeration and prevent water stagnation. The river runs at the backside of the property which feeds the irrigation, so a perfect water run off . We made our own canal from the pond down to the river. Now we could begin the filling the pond process with water as we had a water supply entry and exit.
Jconfarm Tilapia Ponds
We introduced the fingerlings once the water system was working according to plan. Tilapia were actually growing and flourishing outside the pond, this meant they were escaping somehow. We expanded the pond to overcome this problem and soon all were back in the larger pond. Soon we had enough fish to start a little business of
selling live Jconfarm tilapia.
We have built several ponds since then and have upgraded the boundary walls from earth to concrete blocks. Our business for a few years was selling Jconfarm tilapia live until we branched into a restaurant with cooked tilapia. Then opened our hotel to complement our business. Today we have the hotel, bar, restaurant and function area which all started with a small concrete box.
We got some catfish fingerlings and they also thrived alongside the tilapia. It was actually very enjoyable to watch how they played jumping up on to a little island in the pond. They would slide up on this island and play with each other to see who could survive there the longest. The were always trying to push each other back into the water.
They all escaped unfortunately during a very heavy rain storm. The water level rose very high during the heave rain allowing them to escape. Catfish will “walk” on land using their fins. In Africa catfish must move out of dried up water ponds to find new ponds that still has water. The do this by “walking” they will move once the ponds start to dry up. So during the heavy rain they were ably to get out and “walk” to the river and escape. We haven’t tried to replace them yet.
Fishing for Jconfarm Tilapia
We are planning to introduce tilapia fishing in the near future. Maybe we will also include catfish for this sport. Guests have requested to allow fishing on several occasions so maybe this will be an addition in the future. The Department of Tourism in actual fact discussed this issue during a recent visit to Jconfarm. The DOT visit
was to assess Jconfarm as an Ecotourism destination. We are eagerly awaiting their decision regarding this issue.
At Jconfarm, we are planning to use one of the ponds just for fishing. There is a concrete bridge which crosses the intended pond which is ideal to fish from. We will supply the equipment required and the fishing bait.
Hook and Cook
We intend to have the jconfarm tilapia catch either cooked here in our kitchen or to have it taken home. Either way it will be a relaxing way to spend some time here in Jconfarm. A few beers while fishing in the morning or afternoon in good ambience, what else could one ask for. Except to add Jconfarm Tilapia, Kinilaw, Fried or Sugba. We will call this Hook and Cook, with this name, it will requires no further introduction.
The pond that we have chosen for fishing is the biggest one at the back of the property. There is a concrete bridge which traverses the pond and is an ideal place to fish from. There are toilets also available in this area, the bar and restaurant are also close by. Parents must closely monitored children, maybe we need to have an age limit to keep kids safe.
Some facts you may or may not be aware of concerning Tilapia
- There are about one hundred different species of Tilapia.
- Tilapia will not survive in cold water.
- Tilapia is the fourth most consumed fish in USA.
- St. Peters fish (Gospel story about St. Peter) is another name used for tilapia.
- An ancient Egyptian Tomb (1500 BC) has a heiroglyphic of a Tilapia.
- Tilapia are a mouth breeding fish, they carry the fertilized eggs and young in their mouth for several days.
- Tilapia are used in some parts of Africa to control malaria because they will eat the mosquito larvae.
- Farmed Tilapia has a worldwide estimated value of US$ 1.8billion with a weight of 1,500,000 tons equal to that of Salmon & Trout
- Jconfarm uses only fish feeds for their Tilapia, animal wastes are not used.
- Tilapia are low in saturated fat, calories,carbohydrates and sodium.
- They are a good source of protein and also contain micro-nutrients such as phosphorus, niacin, selenium, vitamin B12 and potassium.
- The skin of tilapia has been used to treat burns of animals.
- Tilapia are farmed in about 135 countries around the world.
- China is the largest producer of Tilapia with around 1.6 million metric tons annually produced.
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