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Quezon City hog raisers get alternative livelihood

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The Department of Agriculture (DA)-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) offered an alternative livelihood to backyard hog raisers in Quezon City affected by the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

“This is to address the displacement of livelihood and prevent the spread of ASF considering that it apparently first broke out in these communities,” DA Undersecretary for Agri-Industrialization and for Fisheries Cheryl Natividad-Caballero told the Philippine News Agency on Friday.

The urban aquaculture project for ASF-affected hog growers would provide alternative livelihood and additional income at the same time help ensure continuous local food supply in highly urbanized cities like Quezon City during this pandemic, she added.

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The group along with the Quezon City government on Friday introduced urban aquaculture as alternate livelihood to 60 identified ASF-affected hog raisers in Barangays Bagong Silangan and Payatas whose deserted pigpens have been converted into fish tanks suitable for fish culture.

The project aims to give out some 10,000 pieces of hito and 9,000 pieces of tilapia fingerlings to 60 identified ASF-affected hog raisers in the mentioned areas.

DA-BFAR said the fish tanks will be stocked with fingerlings and will be equipped with a recirculating aquaculture system to filter out waste and provide more dissolved oxygen in the water in order to maintain the water’s good quality essential to the health and growth of the fish.

The urban aquaculture project is part of the key strategies under the "OneDA" approach initiated by DA Secretary William Dar.

It is devised to stimulate agro-fisheries productivity in the cities by converting vacant lots or structures into food production areas, such as vegetable gardens, aquaponics, and fish tanks or backyard fishponds.

Additionally, the assistance package also comes with 60 units of filtration system and commercial feeds that would last a cycle of feeding of three to four months. For one cycle, the urban aquaculture project is estimated to produce 1.58 metric tons of hito and 1.29 metric tons of tilapia.

Caballero mentioned that they are piloting the project in Quezon City but will implement it to other areas especially those hard-hit by the government measures addressing the pandemic.

Meanwhile, food security advocacy group Tugon Kabuhayan earlier assured Filipinos of sufficient fish supply to meet consumer demand even in the coming months.

Tugon Kauhayan convenor and former BFAR director, Atty. Asis Perez, said even when Taal erupted last year, there were lots of tilapia from the lake as fish cages sustained only minor damage.

The group also predicts that fish prices will decrease in the following months based on last years’ trend wherein the prices of galunggong (round scad) and bangus (milkfish) went down by as much as PHP50 to PHP60 a kilo.

“We have lots of fish. All we need to do is to ensure that we’re able to make it available to consumers, especially in population centers like Metro Manila” he said.


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