Improvement of milkfish production pushed

A 116.2-million government program to develop technologies to improve the production of milkfish is now under way, an official of the state research and development (R&D) agency said last Tuesday.

The program, undertaken by the Science and Technology department’s Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), also involves training farmers in the use of technologies to be developed.

PCAARRD Inland Aquatic Resources Division Director Dalisay G. Fernandez said via e-mail that the three-year program, which started in June 2011, has a 116.2-million allocation.

Ms. Fernandez said the program has three segments, namely:

• enhancement of milkfish brood stock management and hatchery practices, which has been allotted 30.4 million;

• improvement of the process of growing milkfish to its marketable size, 46.1 million; and

• milkfish genetics, 39.7 million.

“The program is expected to generate technologies that will increase productivity and profitability of milkfish production systems,” Ms. Fernandez wrote.

She enumerated some of the technologies expected to be developed under the program as:

• improved techniques for brood stock management;

• diagnostic kit to determine quality of fry (milkfish that are 30 days old from hatching);

• automated fry counter; and

• improved cage designs and protocols for sustainable farming.

“With the interventions, the R&D program is expected to increase milkfish production to 695,770 metric tons (MT) by 2016 or an increase of 285,000 MT over the projected production without the interventions,” Ms. Fernandez said.

She added that, from 2010 to 2016, the program also aims to:

• more than double annual fry production to 5.3 billion from 2 billion;

• triple yield of milkfish mariculture to 9 kilograms per cubic meter (kg/cu.m.) from 3 kg/cu.m.; and

• grow yield in fishponds by 67% to 2 MT per hectare (/ha) annually from 1.2 MT/ha.

“The project will initially benefit the following milkfish hatcheries: Hautea Hatchery in Iloilo, Oversea Hatchery in Cebu, Alturias Hatchery in Bohol and a hatchery in Zambales,” Ms. Fernandez said in her e-mail.

This program is one of Department of Science and Technology-PCAARRD’s Industry Strategic Science and Technology Plans. These plans serve as general road maps for 34 inland aquatic, marine, livestock, crop and forestry resources that were chosen to help reduce poverty and achieve food security.

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