Island News

Tilapia farmer goes

Written By : KUINI WAQASAVOU. Being successful in life is everybody’s dream but how to get there is somewhat of a struggle and we often hear of how people struggle
27 Mar 2011 12:00

image Written By : KUINI WAQASAVOU. Being successful in life is everybody’s dream but how to get there is somewhat of a struggle and we often hear of how people struggle to become successful.
There is one such story that is still making its way up through the ladder of success but which is worth writing about.
Panapasa Taleniwesi, 49, is originally from Vusaratu, Natewa in Cakaudrove and was brought up in his village.
“I moved to Suva to attend secondary school along with my four brothers and because our parents were civil servants, we were often moving around because of the nature of their work,” explained Panapasa.
“I guess I was the only one that was interested in farming and fishing for a living as my other brothers moved on to good jobs,” he smiled.
Panapasa became interested in fish farming when he would visit his friends along the Suva- Nausori corridor and would partake in the lively conversations that followed on farming as well as other fisheries and agricultural activities.
“My interest started growing and I decided that I was going to try it out on a trial basis,” he said.
Panapasa worked closely with the Fisheries Department officials based at the Naduruloulou Aqua-culture Station in Nausori.
“I had to do a lot of research first which is the most important aspect before starting a business venture,” he smiled.
Panapasa travelled to Nadi to conduct his research as well and found that the villages in the West preferred fresh-water fish to salt-water fish.
“Maybe because of the fact that most of them go on small fishing expeditions to the nearest creeks and streams where tilapia or maleya as it is commonly known is in abundance,” explained Panapasa.
After much thought and deliberations with his family members, Panapasa decided to take that step and start his own tilapia farm in Nadi.
He secured four acres of land on a sub-lease basis and started his journey on a step by step tune.
“There are a lot of pro’s and con’s that have to be weighed before we make that important decision to set up a business venture and I know that I have made the right choice by setting up here in the West,” he smiled.
Panapasa set up business on his four acres in Maqalevu Settlement in Nadi in November last year.
“Maqalevu is a couple of miles from Nadi Town and past Narewa Village on your way towards Denarau,” explained the avid farmer.
The land was once a sugar-cane farm so land preparation itself was a huge workout.
“I invested about $60,000 for land preparation to the digging of the five ponds,” he said.
“Now I can look back and say that it was worth all the effort,” he smiled.
“I did not have a choice when it came to rearing brackish-water tilapia as the soil and water were already salinated due to its position close to the sea,” smiled Panapasa.
About 3000 fry’s were produced and reared in nursery units (tanks or net enclosures in ponds) at the Naduruloulou Aquaculture Station in Nausori to fingerling size for grow-out in brackish water ponds.
Panapasa said that prior to stocking; the fingerlings were acclimatised to the salinity of the water in the ponds in Nadi at the Galoa Fisheries Station in Serua.
“That procedure took two to three weeks before they were transported to the farm in Nadi and as soon as they were released into the ponds, they quickly adapted to their new homes,” explained Panapasa.
“Three of the ponds were filled with

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