November 20, 2023
The National Tilapia Congress comes back for its sixth edition this year with the theme, “Rising Strong and Growing for a New Beginning.”
The two-day Congress which will run from November 20-21, 2023 in Clark, Pampanga, gathered key stakeholders to assess the current situation and challenges of the tilapia industry and formulate appropriate, responsive, and sustainable solutions.
A popular source of protein and livelihood to hundreds of thousands of Filipinos, Tilapia is considered one of the most commercially important fish species in the country and one of the fastest-growing aquaculture commodities globally. In 2021, the Philippines ranked as 6th major producer of farmed tilapia in the world, contributing 4.80% of the total world production.
Despite this, the tilapia industry continues to face many challenges, including escalating farm input costs, the growing impact of climate change, lack of supply of quality fry and fingerlings, and economic volatility on both national and regional levels, leading to the observed decline in production by 10.62% in 2022.
The 6th National Tilapia Congress seeks to address these issues by providing key stakeholders with an opportunity for exchange of knowledge, best practices, and policy frameworks, through plenary sessions and exhibits, and ultimately, fortify partnerships between the private sector and the government, with a call for the formation of associations and cooperatives to strengthen and support the tilapia industry.
Led by the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) in partnership with the Philippine Tilapia Stakeholders’ Association (PhilTilapia), the event is also attended by representatives from other government agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI), and partners such as the Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations (FAO), and various supporting councils.
Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform, Senator Cynthia A. Villar, expressed her support for the activity and the tilapia industry and highlighted the importance of establishing legislated hatcheries nationwide in improving the country’s fish fry supply and boosting the local aquaculture sector.
One of the highlights of the activity is the presentation of the Philippine National Industry Tilapia Roadmap (2022-2025), which serves as the industry’s guiding blueprint for sustainable development and contains strategies to increase production, ensure quality and traceability of inputs and outputs, reduce feed cost, reduce post-harvest losses, and provide effective marketing and support services.
The Congress will culminate in the presentation of the Congress Resolution, a list
harmonizing all stakeholder inputs to further advance the tilapia farming industry in
the country. These steps were collaboratively conceived with the DA-BFAR during the
pre-Congress assembly of the PhilTilapia, which also held the oath-taking of their
newly-elected officers as another key activity of the Congress proper.
“A crucial aspect in ‘Rising Strong and Growing for a New Beginning’ is fostering collaboration among farmers, government agencies, and industry stakeholders, especially in these volatile times. By working together can we only address formidable challenges such as farm sustainability, rising inputs, and market unpredictability,” PhilTilapia President Florendo G. Juico, Jr. said.