MOUNTAIN PROVINCE, August 19, 2021 – Beneficiaries of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – Special Area for Agricultural Development (BFAR-SAAD) Program harvested 40 kilograms of cultured Japanese Weather Loach.
In just two months of the group’s establishment, its 100 members from barangays Palpalidan, Balaoa, and Tadian reaped from the SAAD livelihood project on August 10.
With SAAD’s support, Mountain Province Farmers and Fisherfolk Association and Loach Throng (MPFFaLT) aims to become a top producer of cultured loach, locally known as yu-yu, panispis, or kaling.
The harvested loaches, according to MPFFaLT chairperson Rex Allen T. Cadio, were a concerted effort of the members. They came from the consolidated produce of different barangays and were combined in the area to observe its breeding management. Loaches are currently cultured at around 3 hectares combined rice paddy areas of the members.
“Now, we still gather and record data from what we observed so we will know how we can repopulate this species in some areas. We wanted to showcase this harvest field day to encourage other aquaculture enthusiasts and fisherfolk alike to replicate the technology,” Mr. Cadio added.
The MPFFaLT FA received Php 720,000 worth of aquaculture support inputs in 2021 comprising 80 sets of B-nets, steel bars, and nylon twine, with 50 units of fiberglass reinforced plastic tanks. Initial loach stocks have been granted from their previous organization. The distributed nets will be used to enclose loaches in case of flood and burrowing activities.
According to BFAR-SAAD Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) Focal Person Michelle A. Peralta, a reduction in the population of loach is observed due to the use of pesticides and other chemicals in farming, and the presence of predators such as golden-apple snails or kuhol and rice ell or kiwet. The bureau and the provincial government wish to reinforce efforts to repopulate loaches by giving assistance to interested fishers.
“Production of loach has already depleted. But because of your interest and efforts, we can restore the existence of this species in the rice paddies. The provincial government is very willing to render assistance to raisers in propagating more of this in the province,” shared Mountain Province Governor Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr.
Provincial Veterinarian Rodelio B. Bagawi further encouraged the fisherfolk to refrain from using insecticide to attain increased production and posed a challenge to culture more and make Mountain Province the loach capital of the Cordilleras.
A kilo of loach ranges from Php 1,000-1,500 in the local markets. Loach stocks are grown in rice paddies enclosed with fine mesh nets.
It is a good source of protein and a key ingredient to local delicacies. It can be consumed as a dried, fried, or Sinigtiman native dish where the loach is cooked in boiling water, with garlic or onions, and the “sigtim” or fermented rice.
BFAR-CAR Regional Director Lilibeth L. Signey encouraged the fisherfolk group to be organized as a cooperative to make loach farming an industry in the region. “We are happy to see the result of your eagerness to propagate loach not only here in Tadian, but also in Besao, Bauko, and Sagada. I commend the group for meeting us halfway with what they can provide to make this effort materialize,” Director Signey said.
Manifesting solidarity and support for their constituents’ aquaculture venture are regional and provincial local government unit (LGU) officials present in the activity, headed by Governor Lacwasan, Jr, Vice Governor Francis O. Tauli, Tadian Municipal Mayor Constito S. Masweng, Barlig Municipal Agriculturist, Seferino Orian, Provincial Veterinarian Rodelio B. Bagawi, and other LGU representatives.
The activity was also facilitated by BFAR-CAR led by Director Signey and Provincial Fisheries Officer Martha B. Estima. ###
Rodelyn Q. Foronda, BFAR-SAAD CAR Community Development Officer
Michelle A. Peralta, BFAR-CAR SAAD Regional Focal
Martha B. Estima, Provincial Fisheries Officer – Mt. Province