The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) is providing assistance to backyard hog raisers, whose livelihood was affected by the African Swine Flu (ASF), and encouraging them to try their hand in fish farming.

The DA-BFAR, through the National Freshwater Fisheries Technology Center (NFFTC), seeks to help small-scale hog farmers convert unutilized and empty concrete pigpens into productive fish tanks. With this initiative, the Bureau aims to provide an alternative venture for affected hog farmers and to mitigate the negative effects of ASF on food security.

During a technology demonstration conducted by the NFFTC, Noemi Mata, a full-time housewife and a hog raiser from Nueva Ecija, has shown interest in adopting and running an aquaculture venture. At the onset of the ASF outbreak, Mrs. Mata was forced to put hog raising on hold. Hearing of the potential of aquaculture from her neighbor who was also being assisted by BFAR-NFFTC, she eagerly renovated their empty pigpens to be utilized in the grow out culture of African catfish (African gariepinus) or hito.

Throughout the culture period, Mrs. Mata discovered the many advantages of fish farming, especially with catfish, as compared to hog raising. According to her, in their 20 years of experience as hog raisers, they would consume Php 3,000 on three sacks of commercial feeds within a week for 13 hogs alone. Catfish farming, however, costed them less as they needed only Php 4,350 on five sacks of commercial feeds for three months.

She also discovered that fish farming is more profitable through online selling, which allowed many customers to place reservations. From her initial harvest of hito, she was able to earn Php 12,500. “Maganda po ang hito kaya ‘yun na po ang aming negosyo ngayon. Sa ngayon ‘yung kinita namin ay ipagpapagawa ulit namin ng kulungan. Ito nga inumpisahan na po namin at hindi na kulangan ng baboy, kulungan na po ng hito,” she said. [Catfish farming has been good, so it has been our business now. Currently, we are utilizing the profit we got from fish farming to construct another pen. These new pens are not for hogs anymore, but for catfish.]

To date, Mrs. Mata already has three renovated tanks filled with catfish juveniles with two more tanks being constructed.

As the swine industry continues to implement strict importation and biosecurity protocols aimed at managing, containing and controlling the spread of ASF, the DA-BFAR continues to provide hog raisers viable alternative livelihood opportunities through innovative and accessible aquaculture technology. Last year, ASF-affected hog raisers from Barangay Payatas and Barangay Bagong Silangan in Quezon City received 60 units of urban aquaculture support system. This is part of the urban aquaculture program jointly implemented by the DA-BFAR’s National Capital Region (NCR) and the local government of Quezon City.


Reference:BFAR-National Freshwater Fisheries Technology Center (NFFTC)