Fish farm
Photo: FEDEACUA/Piscicola Botero

Examining the Success of the Tilapia Industry in Huila – an Emerging Aquaculture Hub in the Colombian Southwest

EfD Discussion Paper
1 March 2024

Jorge Marco Renau , Nicolas Valbuena , Diego Valderrama, Monica Vasquez


Reaching a production level of 200,000 tons (live weight) in 2022, the tilapia industry has emerged as the most important finfish farming sector in Colombia. Located in the southwest of the country, the Huila department currently accounts for 40% of total production and 90% of exports. As the industry grew at a remarkable pace over the last two decades, two clearly identifiable sectors emerged, with large-scale producers targeting the export market, and mid- and small-scale producers focusing on the domestic market. This study used the Aquaculture Performance Indicators (API) methodology to examine the economic, environmental, and social performance of both production sectors. The evaluation relied on the input of industry experts and information collected from a number of secondary sources. While the export sector achieved acceptable scores for each sustainability criterion, the economic and social performance of the domestic sector was deficient. Contrasting capacities to cope with a number of production, investment and cost scenarios as well as varying vulnerability to potential risks could further amplify the differences in performance between the two sectors. 

Keywords: Aquaculture Performance Indicators, Food production systems, Triple bottom line, Sustainable aquaculture, Tilapia. 


Files and links

Sustainable Development Goals
Publication reference
EfD Discussion Paper DP 24-03
Publication | 5 March 2024