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Ifugao fishers prepare for tilapia farming

IFUGAO, March 29, 2023 – To prepare beneficiaries for the aquaculture project, 60 Cawayan Farmer’s Association (CFA) underwent Tilapia culture management training facilitated by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). 

The training from March 14-15 discussed basic tilapia farming and management to properly utilize the materials included in the livelihood package such as feeds and fingerlings. Further, the basics of tilapia biology, tilapia culture in ponds highlighting pond preparation, stocking, feeding, water management, and pond care and maintenance were also discussed. The activity also served as a venue for the association to formulate a policy that fosters a sense of duty and responsibility among members in sustaining projects handled by the organization.

Based on SAAD Phase 2 implementing guidelines, in the beneficiary selection, the program will assist fishers who are members of an organized association to qualify for SAAD’s services, particularly in the identified 38 most marginalized municipalities marked by the Philippine Statistics Authority (2018) in the Cordillera Region.

The Cawayan Farmers Association in Barangay Cawayan, Asipulo, Ifugao was organized in 1992 with an initial membership of 66 and was only registered with DOLE in 2011. As of writing, the association has grown to 213 members who collectively envision increasing their assets by Php 10 million by 2030 through linkages and partnerships with various government agencies and local government units. As an established association, the group has Php 380,419.09 savings and cash on hand fund.

The activity also introduced Fish N’ Learn, a financial knowledge game imparting positive financial values essential in maintaining the good monetary performance of the association, gaining returns on their project, efficient utilization of funds, and creating real and safe investments in the agri-fishery business.

In this game, each participant was given seed money which they will allocate for different needs such as savings, insurance, business, or cooperative. “The game was good and it gave me a lesson to realize the value of saving money every day. I got the highest remaining amount of money at the end of the game because of the idea that I bought three businesses during the game,” said CFA Vice-chair Victor Anudon. 

Fish N’ Learn is structured around five key messages (5Ms) for fisherfolk that include: maging mapagkalinga sa karagatan; mag-impok ngayon para sa kinabukasan; magpalago ng kita sa pamamagitan ng pagne-negosyo; mag-seguro para protektado; and maging matalino sa pag-utang. 

It is an avenue for the fishers to reflect on their spending priorities and future financial decisions. The game was launched to spread finance management education among fishers across the country in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA) through BFAR, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Banco De Oro Foundation, and Fish Right Program of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Ifugao Provincial Fishery Officer, Eumic C. Culimay spearheaded the activity in collaboration with the local government unit of Asipulo and officials of barangay Cawayan. 

After enhancing and developing the beneficiaries’ aquaculture knowledge on both technical and financial aspects, the Bureau will begin distributing fishery project inputs in the first week of April. This comprises 46,000 fingerlings and 460 bags of feeds, enough for their consolidated 9,200 square-meter pond (accumulated and shared by 60 select members of CFA). Members’ ponds are also ready for fish stocking.

BFAR-SAAD Program in CAR will cover 38 fisherfolk groups with about 1,140 members across 6 provinces (Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Mt. Province, Kalinga) and 38 municipalities that qualify based on the area and beneficiaries selection considerations. Through SAAD, fishers can access capacity-building training focused on production, values formation, fiscal management, and aquaculture livelihood projects considering community needs and socio-economic conditions of the fisherfolk. ###


Writer: Rodelyn F. De Vera, Information Officer – BFAR CAR
Source: Michelle Peralta, BFAR-SAAD CAR Alternate Focal Person

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