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Loach production jump-starts in Mountain Province

Tadian, Mountain Province, September 3, 2020 – To support the restoration of the Japanese loach production in Mountain Province, the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program provided Php 603,054.00 worth of aquaculture projects to Mountain Province under FY 2020.

Tadian Farmers, Fisherfolk and Irrigators Association (TAFFIA) received a 500 square meter village-level fish hatchery (Php 500,000.00), a set of water pump with hose (Php 15,000.00), 10 pieces’ crates (Php 5,000.00), and 22 bags fry mash feeds (Php 8,054.00) from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) – Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

Japanese loach or locally known in the region as “yu-yu” is one of the promising fish commodities to help increase fish production in Tadian. In a bid to revive this kind of livelihood, particularly in the municipality of Tadian, a harvest field day initiated by the TAFFIA was conducted to determine the viability of re-propagating these species.

This type of loach was introduced in the Philippines by the Japanese and used to thrive in the rice terraces and shallow portions of rivers and creeks in the Cordillera region. It was also a common sight during market days. Interviews from farmers reveal that “yu-yu” played a significant role in supplying nutrition for the people in the upland areas being the major source of protein, until the tremendous decline of catch in recent years.

According to Mr. Rex Allen Cadio, Adviser of TAFFIA, the harvest season of the species is from May to July, just before the onset of the rice planting season. However, due to the pandemic, his invitation to BFAR to witness the harvest was delayed.

He was passionate to bring these species back in the rice paddies, so he asserted that with the continuous support of BFAR, they can make this species as their one town, one product (OTOP).

To this effort, BFAR-CAR Regional Director Lilibeth L. Signey supported their willpower to revive mass production of the species and also noting that with the technical team support they shall improve the breed of these species. She also led the visitation of various pond areas where these species can be grown and reproduced. In fact, the La Trinidad Regional Fish Farm (LTRFF) managed by Marx Perfecto C. Garcia has established the loach hatchery technology in support of this purpose.

With the loach price ranging from Php 1,500.00 to 1,800.00 per kilogram (kg), the cultivation of loach has also helped the fisherfolk generate income for their daily essentials and as source of food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

From May until July 2020, the TAFFIA group was able to gather 100 kg of loach – 67 kg sold and 37 kg for family consumption. The group earned more or less Php 90,000.00 from the market price ranging from Php 1,000.00 to 1,500.00 during that time.

During the harvest field day

“We are also thankful for the inclusion of Mountain Province under the SAAD Program, so with the authority vested upon our office, we turn over these projects to you. Bearing in mind the guidance and we hope that you will sustain and handle the rest of the project well,” said Governor Lacwasan Jr., as he delivered his speech during the turn-over program held at barangay Duagan, Tadian, Mountain Province.

Tadian Municipal Mayor Constito S. Masweng stated that the government office is grateful to have these programs from the bureau and he then emphasized how steadfast their unit is in implementing these projects to help the fisherfolk communities acquire livelihood support.

“We should take this as a challenge to ensure that these inputs will be sustained and use it to improve the livelihood in our communities. With these projects, we will not need to travel into far places in order to find a living but rather it will empower us to produce sufficient income in our communities. As fisheries is coupled with farming, these programs are particularly intended to supplement our communities’ old farming practices,” said Mayor Masweng.

In addition, during the harvest field day last September 3, another two fisherfolk organizations and an individual farmer received aquaculture projects. These are, namely:

1) Banga-an Rural Improvement Club in Sagada, Mountain Province – received a set of water pump with hose (Php 15,000.00)

2) Pandayan Fisherfolk Association – received a set of water pump with hose (Php 15,000.00)

3) Venancio Baybay in Sagada – received 1-unit solar powered aquaponics system (Php 45,000.00)

The turn-over activity was led by Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan Jr., Vice Governor Francis Tauli, Tadian Mayor Constito Masweng, BFAR-CAR Director Lilibeth L. Signey, BFAR Provincial Fishery Officer (PFO) Martha B. Estima, and other participating local government unit (LGU) officials. ###


Writer: Rodelyn Foronda, BFAR-CAR Community Development Officer I
Copy Editor: Jennifer A. Valcobero, SAAD NPMO Public Relation and Comms Officer
Source of Photos: BFAR-CAR

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