BUKIDNON, April 18, 2022 – To ensure hygienic and efficient tilanggit production across the province, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region 10 (BFAR 10) through the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program, awards a solar dryer worth Php 170,000 to Don Carlos SAAD Beneficiaries Association, Incorporated on March 16.
Known for culturing fast-growing and quality tilapia fish since 2019, the said association has been mass-producing tilanggit, also known as tilapiang dinanggit – basically, a sun-dried tilapia fish meatier compared to the usual danggit (rabbitfish) – the reference of its innovation. Hence, the provision of this solar dryer will reduce product contamination and increase production capacity despite Bukidnon’s cold and rainy climate.
Although the 30 members are relatively farmers of rice, corn, and sugarcane, tilapia culture is not a new thing for the members of the association. With BFAR’s initiative, the few who culture tilapia for a living encouraged other members to take advantage of SAAD’s sustainable program.
Located in areas with lush water supplies, each of the association members cultivated a 400 square meters (sqm) fishpond in 2018, with a consolidated area of 1.2-hectare.
To date, they reported a consolidated gross income of Php 566,600 from selling fresh tilapia at Php 100 per kilogram; and Php 287,000 from tilanggit valued at Php 1,000/kg.
To ensure the sustainability of the economic activity, the bureau also provided a series of training on tilapia culture production, processing and marketing, fish processing, and how to use the grinder and pelletizer included in the feed formulation shed.
“Daghan kaayong salamat sa BFAR sa pagdala sa SAAD program diri. Isa kini sa mga saad sa gobyerno nga natuman g’yud ug nag-hatag kanamo og dakong tabang. Mao nang karon, ang pag-dako nalang sa tilapia among agdon,” expressed Mr. Ruben Esteban, the association president.
(Thank you so much BFAR for bringing the SAAD Program here. This is one of the government’s promises that was realized. Now, all we have to do is wait for the tilapia’s maturity.)
The conventional drying process takes 7 to 8 hours of open sun heat drying, which exposes the products to rain, dew, and debris.
More economical than the traditional ones, the solar dryer takes 4 to 6 hours to do the procedure in an eco-friendly and hygienic way, and the operation and maintenance cost is low. Since it is also suitable for all types of weather, the drying of tilanggit and formulated feed production will not be interrupted.
The group ventured into value-adding seeing the opportunity to sell their products in the local market and expand this to the whole municipality of Don Carlos aiming for a higher return.
Furthermore, Don Carlos’s Municipal Agriculturist, Ms. Merlyn Los Baños commended BFAR for channeling sustainable projects under the SAAD Program to the marginalized farmers and fisherfolk who should be prioritized in the provisions of government intervention to boost their farm products.
“Salamat kaayo sa tanan ninyong hatag, gawas pa’gyud sa trainings, utensils og mga makinarya nga inyuhang gihatag para sa ilaha. So, wala nagyu’y rason nga dili ta maka-produce” (Thank you for everything that you’ve given, in addition to the sets of training, utensils and machinery for the association. Now, there would be no reason for us not to produce tilanggit), said Ms. Los Baños.
Bukidnon’s Provincial Fishery Officer (PFO) Ms. Mary Joy Tac-an recognized the active cooperation of the Local Government Unit in sustaining and realizing the project. The PFO stressed that selecting well-deserving beneficiaries and identifying appropriate projects for them was the most crucial part of SAAD’s process.
From 2018 to 2021, BFAR 10, under the SAAD Program, administered infrastructure projects, installed equipment, and conducted aquaculture training for the people of Kiara, Don Carlos, Bukidnon. These start-up interventions are now turned over and entrusted to the beneficiary of the said area. ###
Writer: Christine Lyn Viajante, BFAR 10 Information Officer