Expensive feeds, lack of financing stunt growth of fish farming in PH
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that fish farming in the Philippines are not growing because feeds that are being sold in the market are expensive, while financing remains unavailable for entrepreneurs.
Piñol said that after his visit to the mariculture park of Malalag town in Davao del Sur, he was enlightened on the failure of the country to achieve fish sufficiency in spite of the fact that it is surrounded by bodies of water with so many coves and bays ideal for fish farming.
“Talking to the stakeholders yesterday, I found out that there are at least three major issues holding back the development of the captured fisheries production program in the country,” Piñol said.
First is the lack of bank financing for fish cage farming, which is a very basic issue which prevents small stakeholders from engaging in fish farming.
“With an investment requirement of at least P2.4 million per cage which could hold up to 80,000 fingerlings, the ordinary fish farmer simply could not afford to start the project,” Piñol said.
Second would be the lack of Bangus Fry supply.
“Stakeholders told me that government intervention in this area has been very weak and the fry supply produced by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the SEAFDEC is just to small compared to the actual demand,” Piñol said.
“There are commercial hatcheries operating in the country, including Saranggani Bay of Alsons owned by the Alcantara-Dominguez family, but they could not produce enough forcing fish farmers to import Bangus fry from Indonesia and Taiwan,” he added.
Finally, Piñol said the high cost of feeds is also preventing fish farming from growing in the Philippines.
“This is another problem which has not been given focus by the government. In fact, it is not only in the aquaculture industry where the high cost of feeds adversely affects production. This problem also holds true in the livestock industry resulting in a reduction of production in the backyard piggery and chicken raising,” Piñol said.