DA-BFAR Highlights Opportunities in Negros Island’s Tilapia Industry

The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will bring to center stage its latest tilapia programs in the Negros Island Region in this year’s AgrilinkFoodlink and Aqualink, the country’s premier trade exhibit on agriculture, food and aquaculture, slated from October 6 to 8 at the World Trade Center, Pasay City.

The event’s theme, “Negros, a Model of Agribusiness Resiliency,” will underscore the strengths and innovations of the agricultural industries of the Negros Island Region (Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental) through crop diversification and focus on enhanced agribusiness value chain—from production inputs, the use of modern yet appropriate technologies, market diversification, and strategic product development, retailing and marketing.

“The exposure of Negros Island in an event as big as Agrilink can help create a promising opportunity for agribusiness, especially in the region’s tilapia industry,” said Florencia Mepania, Negros Oriental Provincial Fisheries Officer.  She added that through undertakings such as this, consumers are educated and encouraged to explore other products that are not previously known in the locality. Mepania noted that tilapia is now accepted and appreciated in the diet of the locals.

Taking advantage of the budding agribusiness trend in Negros Island has brought diverse programs to flourish in this region in the Visayas. Among these is the establishment of a tilapia hatchery and grow-out ponds on a two-hectare aquaculture facility in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental.

This project, which aims to produce food quality fry for distribution to fish farmers, will increase fish production in grow-out ponds, maximize fish production through technology transfer and promote environment-friendly farming techniques. The project is jointly implemented by the local government unit of Bayawan, KfW (a German government-owned development bank), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Land Bank of the Philippines. BFAR has likewise provided 2, 828 pieces of Red Tilapia and GET EXCEL breeders, sourced from the agency’s freshwater fisheries center in Nueva Ecija.

According to BFAR, the developments of tilapia culture in Negros saw the rise of fish farmers in Bayawan City. Aquaculture areas have also expanded while fisheries’ ventures such as the selling of deboned tilapia in the local market became profitable.

Aside from conducting free seminars, BFAR will also have a market and business matching of buyers and suppliers at Agrilink 2016. The agency will also showcase its Seafood Village, where various seafood and aquatic products across the country will be displayed. Majority of the exhibitors under BFAR will be micro, small and medium enterprises.

The event, which is co-organized by over 30 major Philippine agribusiness and food associations, is also supported by the DA’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service, Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, Bureau of Agricultural Research, Bureau of Animal Industry, Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards and Philippine Rice Research Institute. The event is also in cooperation with FIT Corea, the Philippine representative of Korea Agricultural Machinery Industry Cooperative, with support from UNAHCO, Rojun Agro Development Corporation, Prime Agritech, VAL-CO, Inoza Industries, Belmont Agricorp and Seven-L Agrifood Systems.