Sen. Cynthia A. Villar has stressed the urgent need for government to do so much more to improve the country’s aquaculture sector and boost production and income of fresh water fish farmers.
Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, noted that the volume of total fisheries production went down to around one million metric tons during the first quarter of 2018, which was 3.03 percent lower than its level during the three-month period in 2017.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) from January to March 2018 shows the decline in fisheries production was across the three subsectors of the fishing industry – commercial, municipal fisheries and aquaculture. In particular,downtrends were noted on roundscad (14.40%), yellowfin tuna (11.66%), milkfish (7.38%) and tilapia (5.43%).
‘With the decrease in fisheries production, our fish farmers have to think of finding new strategies and adopting modern technology to increase their produce and boost their income, especially those engaged in the aquaculture business. The least that government can do is to provide them basic information and help them hone their skills,’ Villar told the 30 participants who attended a four-day training of trainors for fresh-water aquaculture offered by the Villar SIPAG Foundation and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources region IV-A held at the Vintahanan floating village in Muntinlupa.
Villar encouraged the farm school and learning site owners, leaders of fishermen and farmers organizations,representatives of cooperatives and teachers from the Department of Education’s K to 12 Technology and Livelihood Education to take into heart the lessons and skills they learned from the training.
‘Seriously consider everything that you have learned from this training. When you go back to your communities, share what you have learned with your fellow fish farmers. You can all start your own aquaculture businesses with the basic concepts and strategies that have been shared with you. Apply what you have learned,’ Villar said.
The training for trainors on fresh-water aquaculture gave lectures on breeding and culture of red tilapia, breeding and culture of Ulang, record-keeping, ornamental fishes,post-harvest/fish processing, aquaponics and aquascaping, disease identification and treatment, quarantine protocol and good aquaculture practices.
Villar reminded the participants that ‘aquaculture,or fish farming, is essential in the government’s poverty and food security campaign, it will help feed all of us. Let us make sure that we sustain aquaculture so we can continuously meet the fish demand of our country’s growing population.