DA-BFAR launches integrated fish and vegetable farming for urban dwellers
As part of the Farmers' and Fisherfolk's Month celebration, Agriculture Secretary William Dar unveiled the project “Urban Aquaponics” during the launching of the Plant, Plant, Plant Program in Quezon City, today.
Aquaponics, an innovative technology that combines concepts of aquaculture and hydroponics to allow fishes and vegetables to grow together in an integrated system, is one of the government’s newest project to ensure sustained food production in urban communities as the nation eases into the “new normal” in the midst of CoVID-19 pandemic.
“We want an agriculture that is modern; we want an agriculture that is technology-based; we want to eradicate subsistence agriculture; we want an agriculture that is inclusive and market-oriented,” Secretary William Dar said.
Sets of two newly-constructed solar energy and electricity hybrid-powered models of urban aquaponics in small and large sizes that can fit on confined spaces in the metropolis are currently housed at the Department of Agriculture (DA) compound and the Philippine Coconut Authority compound in the said city. These are only two of the five Urban Aquaponics models that the department, through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), will make available for interested individuals and communities in the coming months.
Under DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program and BFAR’s Food Resiliency and Recovery Program for CoVID-19, 15 small-scale and 10 large-scale fiberglass units, and 50 large-scale canvas units of Urban Aquaponics will be distributed as immediate assistance to urban communities within Metro Manila. The distribution will follow an institutional arrangement through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) among the agency and the organized groups identified as recipients of the project.
The project will cover the start-up inputs for culture of fish and vegetables as well as include a training component for fast and efficient transfer of technology.
Aside from ensuring household and community food security, urban aquaponics is seen to offer its stakeholders an excellent livelihood opportunity. For instance, the small model only takes up a square meter of space but can already yield 50 to 75 pieces of catfish and 54 pieces of lettuce amounting to at least P 4,080 per cropping. The large model, on the other hand, with a width three times the size of the small model, can produce 120 to 300 pieces of catfish and 344 pieces of lettuce for a total of P112,572 in gross sales if sold. The cost of production for these models is only P36,000 and P120,000, respectively.
Procurement of more units of these models is already underway and for distribution to serve as livelihood for more recipients. These models are also being replicated around the country through the agency's regional field offices.
The project is in line with one of the eight paradigms –Modernization – of the department’s “New Thinking” approach for agriculture.