ProGift Aquaculture Technology Co.

About the company

  • Company: ProGift Aquaculture Technology Co.
  • Client role: Long-term customer of Akvaforsk Genetics’genetics improvement services
  • Industry: Tilapia farming industry in China
  • The time you’ve been working together: Since 2004, developing three genetically superior breeds of tilapia – ProGift Nile (Oreochromis niloticus), ProGift Blue ( aureus) and ProGift Red (a hybrid of several Oreochromis sp.)

ProGift Aquaculture Technology Co. Ltd. (ProGift), founded in 2003 by Norwegian Chinese Mr Simon Yuen, is today the largest tilapia fry and fingerling provider in China and operates the world’s largest tilapia breeding and hatchery centre. ProGift is well known for its excellent products, offering genetically improved tilapia of stable quality that grows fast, shows robustness in major Chinese production environments, and have a nice and uniform body shape appreciated by the processors. The company has three hatcheries in Hainan and Guangdong provinces and has a substantial commercial network across China.

Challenge

ProGift established its production in 2004 by importing Nile tilapia of the GIFT breed from Vietnam, which has already been selected in ten generations for faster growth in different freshwater environments. From the very beginning, ProGift understood the need for professional consultancy for systematically developing their tilapia breeds, optimizing the genetic improvement of several essential traits while restricting the accumulation of inbreeding in their broodstock.

Solution

ProGift chose Benchmark’s Akvaforsk Genetics as their partner for genetics improvement services due to the long-standing reputation. Akvaforsk Genetics has actively transferred knowledge from breeding programs with cold-water species (salmon and trout) to nearly 30 aquaculture species, including tilapias, impacting sustainable aquaculture production in Asia and other parts of the world.  Akvaforsk Genetics contributions in the tilapia breeding programs at ProGift include planning (development of breeding plans), supervision (training of technical staff), statistical analyses (breeding value estimation) and reporting (documentation and control).

Impact

Under common production conditions in freshwater earthen ponds, the ProGift Nile (now selected 16 generations in China) reaches average harvest weights of 500 grams before three months of age and 2.5 kg after eight months of feeding. These excellent results with ProGift Nile encouraged similar developmental work with other tilapia species. Breeding populations of ProGift Blue and ProGift Red were established by combining genetic materials from several local and imported hatchery populations. Selection responses in these new breeds have been even more significant than those achieved with ProGift Nile due to a shorter history of development and a larger genetic variation. In addition to improving the genetic growth potential, the ProGift tilapia breeds have been selected to improve fillet yield, pond survival, cold-water tolerance, salinity tolerance and external colour traits.

Today, ProGift is the largest producer of genetically improved tilapia fry/fingerlings in China and the world. Production of fry/fingerlings is expected to reach 700 million in 2021 and will be doubled the following year. Genetic improvement of ProGift tilapia has a very significant impact on securing a sustainable production of Chinese tilapia.

The results speak for themselves and demonstrate the superiority of the Akvaforsk Genetics’ technology for genetically improved tilapia. I have enjoyed working with the company for many years. I appreciate the flexibility expressed by their representatives, being strict concerning technical procedures, while at the same time showing humbleness in the process of implementing these

Simon Yuen, owner of ProGift Aquaculture Technology Co.
Progift tilapia pond

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