Yalelo partners with aquaculture genetics specialist Xelect to develop new, improved tilapia strains

ZAMBIA – FirstWave Group, the parent company of Yalelo, one of the leading fisheries business in Africa with operations Zambia and Uganda, has partnered with Xelect, specialists in aquaculture genetics and breeding programmes, to develop local high-performance tilapia breeds.

The breeding program according to Africa business communities, will focus on Nile tilapia to feed FirstWave’s subsidiaries operating in the pristine open waters of Lake Kariba and Lake Victoria.

“We are excited to partner with Xelect as they apply their global expertise and cutting-edge, data-driven tools to our local husbandry practices in Zambia and Uganda.”

Tembwe Mutungu – FirstWave Group co-CEO

This strategic partnership will enable the company to bring a data driven solution to its breeding management as it continues to pursue ongoing improvements in cost leadership and production efficiency.

“Success in leading innovation within African aquaculture requires the best ecosystem partners in addition to the best people. We are excited to partner with Xelect as they apply their global expertise and cutting-edge, data-driven tools to our local husbandry practices in Zambia and Uganda.

“This will allow us to breed tilapia pedigrees adapted to our local production environments, while avoiding the use of foreign genetics that present a risk to ecological balance,” said Tembwe Mutungu, FirstWave Group co-CEO.

An improved data-driven breeding program will lay the foundation for precision aquaculture farming at FirstWave as the group continues to address the large fish deficit in the region.

Locally developed pedigrees of tilapia will achieve superior performance in growth, quality, and health, supporting its mission of becoming a global leader in tilapia production efficiency.

“We’re delighted to be working with FirstWave as they are clearly one of the biggest names in African aquaculture. We share their passion for creating a sustainable, local source of protein, and were immediately struck by their high standards of professionalism.

“We’re seeing more and more producers realise the value of harnessing natural genetic variation to create the best possible fish for local conditions and believe this will become a flagship example of best practice,” Xelect’s CEO, Prof Ian Johnston said.

FirstWave and Xelect’ expert teams will work closely together to define program outcomes that will enable the company to continue to deliver high quality and affordable protein products across Eastern and Southern African markets.

FirstWave is the largest vertically integrated freshwater aquaculture business in Sub-Saharan Africa.

It specializes in tilapia production, distribution, and retail through its flagship company, Yalelo Zambia and the recently inaugurated Yalelo Uganda.

The company also undertakes feed production through Aller Aqua Zambia.

The partnership comes a year after Finnfund, Finnish development financier supported the expansion of Yalelo Limited with a US$6 million equity investment.

At the time of the investment, the company was producing 12,000 tons of tilapia annually. It intends to expand its annual production to 25,000 tons.

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