BFAR Region 2 Sets Development Plans, Will Promote Polyculture and Duckweeds
Tuguegarao City, Cagayan – Fisherfolk here in Region 2 can expect higher profitability for the coming months as the fisheries bureau in this region has targeted the introduction of, several cost-related and productivity enhancement technologies for 2009.
Recognizing the high cost of feeds that fish farmers have to pay, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has included in its 2009 plans the widespread promotion of duckweeds as supplemental feeds for tilapia, bangus, pangasius and carp.
Duckweeds (Lemna spp.) are tiny free-floating plants with reported crude protein content of 18 to 42 percent. Earlier study made by the bureau’s fishfarm in Iguig, Cagayan has determined the viability of using this rapidly-reproducing water plant as alternative feed without adverse effect on the growth of tilapia.
Said study has determined optimum feeding mixture at 50 percent fresh duckweeds and 50 percent commercial feeds. The feeding combination even achieved higher growth rate compared to the treatment that used only commercial feeds.
In money terms, a 1,000-square meter semi-intensive fishpond using this feed combination can easily cut feed expenses by more than P10,000 (20+ bags) in one culture cycle of 4 to 5 months, or more than P1,000 per hectare.
Considering that costs of commercial feeds have risen by no less than 10 to 25 percent based on 2008 figures, while retail price of tilapia had remained constant, the 50 percent savings will certainly mean a lot. Duckweeds will also help us address dependence on imported corn as raw material for feeds, says BFAR Region 2 Director Jovita Ayson.
As targeted-during the planning workshop with LGUs last February 3 and 4, BFAR Region 2 will establish 10 duckweed demo sites for the whole region.
Other aquaculture technologies to be promoted are: Polyculture. This is the raising of two or more non-competing fishery species in a common culture system. This technology can potentially raise farmers’ income through the optimum use of inputs and culture area.
Last year’s polyculture projects of BFAR Region 2 had achieved 93 and 58 percent additional net income compared to pure semi-intensive tilapia farming. The first polyculture project involved the combination of ulang-tilapia-carp in one pond. The other technique is a combination of tilapia-common-carp-African catfish.
Pangasius Culture. Pangasius is a fast-growing and hardy fish. It can be cultured in fishponds, fish cages as well as in organic culture system in Region 2. Pangasius fillet is currently being imported in the Philippines in big volumes from Vietnam. It is being served in upscale eating places as Cream Dory fish.
To address the problem of inadequate supply of fingerlings, BFAR Region 2 will establish a hatchery at its station in San Mateo, Isabela. The bureau, together with the office of the provincial agriculturist, Cagayan had also proposed to the Department of Agriculture the construction of a pangasius hatchery at the OPA facility in Bantay, Camalaniugan.
Other aquaculture technologies to be introduced are urban, upland and mangrove aquaculture, and 45-days delayed feeding technology. The agency will introduce culture of high-value species such as abalone, sea urchin, mud crab and sea urchin.
To support its flagship fingerling production and dispersal program, Ayson bared the rationalization of 6 BFAR fish farms in the region with the aim of maximizing utilization of area and hence, increase fingerling production.
The agency has targeted the production of 12.29 million fingerlings and I million oyster spats this year as a means to increase dispersal to its LGU and fish farmer clientele in the region.
On the coastal and marine front, the fisheries bureau will distribute environment friendly fishing gears such as fish trap, trawl line, long line and gill nets in addition to the implementation of regulatory activities. BFAR will also continue with its widespread distribution and installation of fish aggregating devices or ‘payao’.
Ayson said that the interventions will help address ongoing economic crisis and will enable the region to produce 66,400 MT for 2009 which will mean an increase of 7 percent. The 2008 fisheries production in Region 2 was 62,057 MT which corresponds to 56.49 percent sufficiency in the region.