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Kebajan farmers train on rice-fish culture

By: Rodelyn Q. Foronda

In a joint collaboration between the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Cordillera, a rice-fish technology demonstration project was implemented in Kabayan, Benguet as part of the Bottoms-up-Budgeting (BUB) project of the government.

Rice-fish culture is becoming known in some part of the region where rice production is common. To date, the bureau established a Loach hatchery located at the La Trinidad Regional Fish Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet to supply fingerling requirements of fish farming enthusiasts.

Rice-fish culture is a practice of integrating fish in the rice paddies. This is done by allotting 10% of the total surface area of the rice field as fish ponds. Other practice is that of growing yu-yu or Japanese loach simultaneously with rice in the area. These species live in shallow rivers, paddies, and even ditches. They can survive when oxygen levels drop on its lowest because they have the ability to use their intestine to derive oxygen from the air.

According to Michelle A. Peralta, technical staff of BFAR-CAR, who served as the resource speaker of the activity, the Regional Field Office of DA coordinated with the bureau to equip the members of Kebajan Farmers Association, Inc. with training services and technical knowledge and skills on aquaculture management practices suitable in their area.

The counterpart of BFAR was the provision of fingerlings in the first cropping as input assistance to the association with two identified recipients.

This project, according to Gladys Aligo of DA-CAR, was under the BUB project in the Municipality which aims to make the planning and budgeting processes of both local and national governments more participatory, and strengthen the convergence of the delivery of national services in the community at providing a balance in the identification of priorities among the less fortunate cities and municipalities in the provinces that belongs to the poorest of the poor.

Peralta discussed in her lecture basic aquaculture management on the Biology of Tilapia, Pond Culture, Rice-Fish Culture, Loach Culture, and Cost and Return Analysis.

Furthermore, Lorence Ognasi, Benguet Provincial Fisheries Coordinator, shared success stories and significant experimental researches conducted on backyard fish production in the province. This is to emphasize the potential of Cordillera not only in rice farming but also in fish raising and its benefits.

This activity was participated in by the Local Government Units, Provincial Veterinary Office, DA, BFAR, and the fisherfolk of Kabayan, Benguet.