• By The Financial District


The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has now started the urban demonstrations of its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) livelihood intervention project in Bicol using the aquaponics system technology which allows soil-less planting including fish-raising even in a backyard setup.

Nonie Enolva, BFAR-Bicol spokesperson, in an interview, said their office has handed 10 units each of aquaponics mechanism to the cities of Legazpi, Ligao, and Tabaco in Albay; Iriga and Naga in Camarines Sur; Sorsogon City in Sorsogon; and in Catanduanes State University in Catanduanes.

Enolva said the aquaponics technology is first rolled out to major cities for demonstrations to the farmers and fisherfolk who would be identified as recipients of the program by the local government units.

“But BFAR will be the one to conduct validation of these program recipients through our provincial fishery offices,” Enolva told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

She said the aquaponics system is a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics where one can plant vegetables (without soil) while raising fish.

“The very objective of this technology is for the farmers and fisher folks and other qualified beneficiaries to produce vegetables with less space needed and to culture fish even in their backyards as their dwelling places are far from the sea or bodies of freshwater such as rivers,” Enolva explained.

She said that the technology would allow culture of tilapia and catfish with a maximum of five pieces of fish per square meter of space.

“Through this aquaponics system, the water where the fish is being cultured will be recycled and their excrements would serve as fertilizer for the vegetables that are being raised together with the fish within the cultured environment,” Enolva added.

She said BFAR has carried out the intervention anchored on their program dubbed “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat” or ALPAS in the wake of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

Enolva said in its full-blown implementation, the aquaponics program is hoped to augment in the production of vegetables and fish even in the urban centers where planting spaces and bodies of water for fish-culturing are not readily accessible.