The regional office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will start its two-month trial of urban aquaponics in June before rolling it out in MIMAROPA provinces.
Aquaponics is combining aquaculture and hydroponics into one system in a symbiotic environment. The technology uses fish wastes from aquaculture as nutrients to grow crops under the component of hydroponics.
BFAR regional director Elizer Salilig said Friday that their office has prepared a purchase request for the components of the small unit of aquaponics worth P70,000.
He said aquaponic is one of the government’s newest projects to ensure sustained food production in urban communities as part of the “new normal” in pandemic times.
“Nag-realign kami ng budget para sa pandemic tapos ang ginawa last week ay nagkaroon ng demo sa BFAR Central Office at promotion ng aquaponic. After nagkaroon ng actual demo, that’s the time na saka natin i-adapt kasi maganda ang promotion pero syempre hindi natin puwede na gagawa agad ng marami na wala pa tayong tinatawag na operation,” Salilig said.
Department of Agriculture (DA) Sec. William Dar said in a virtual presser on Thursday that their agency is promoting the urban aquaponics to serve as another source of food for household requirements.
The bureau with the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) could provide technical assistance, site assessments, and lectures for interested individuals who want to try urban aquaponic culture in their areas.
“Ito yong isang inilunsad natin, pino-promote natin yong aquaponics. Aquaponics is a combination of vegetable production and fish cultivation, fish raising. Ito ay magandang intervention gagawin at paigtingin pa ng Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources so that in urban areas, hindi lang vegetable crops o fruits ang ipo-produce, meron na rin source ng protein kagaya ng tilapia,” Dar said.
Salilig said that after their two-month trial in June and July, they could start the harvesting by December. After their trial, BFAR MIMAROPA will look for ideal locations in the region that fit the demand of the aquaponic culture.
He said that it is ideal to put high-value vegetables and fishes such as lettuce and “hito” or catfish to compliment the expense.
“Kapag ang ilagay mo tilapia, depende sa size. For example, lagyan mo sya ng fingerling size, pagdating ng four months pwede ka na magsimula ng harvest dahan-dahan, ibig sabihin prototype. Kapag nilagay mo naman hito, ganon din, pagdating mo ng three months, mag-start ka na rin, according to size,” he said.
Considering MIMAROPA as an island region rich in marine resources, Salilig said that urban aquaponics will be optional for those who want to invest in it once they started to implement it after the trial.
“I-adapt natin, gawan natin ng trial para i-promote natin kasi may areas na gusto nila i-adapt. We could start dito sa region muna, kapag at least 85 percent, that’s the time pwede natin i-adapt at i-implemet sa lahat. Yong gusto lang, optional,” he said.