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'Balunggay' is Protein Food for Tilapia

PHILIPPINES - Balunggay (scientific name: Moringa oleifera, Malunggay in Tagalog) is being seen as a good source of protein for Tilapia feeds.

Wally Afuang, Executive Director of the Northern Negros Aquatic Resources Management Council (NNARMAC), said the Balunggay tree holds a considerable potential for becoming an ingredient for animal and fish feeds because of its high nutritional quality that is comparable to other feed protein sources.

Afuang discussed the utilization of Balunggay as an alternative protein source of Tilapia feeds at a seminar recently at the Governor's Conference Hall of the Provincial Capitol Building in Bacolod City. The seminar was in line with the 3rd Negros Island Organic Farmers' Festival.

"Balunggay has more than the required protein for humans, so its raw leafmeal is also good for fish. It is generally cheaper than animal protein, its essential amino acid composition is comparable to soybean, and is widely distributed in the tropics," Afuang added.

There is high competition and demand for fish meal as a protein source for poultry, livestock and aquaculture feeds.

"Identifying and utilizing non-conventional and less-utilized plant protein sources such as Balunggay to replace fishmeal either partially or totally in practical fish feeds has been the area of focus in aquaculture nutrition research recently," Afuang further said.

Afuang strongly encourages the planting of Balunggay for nutritional, medical and industrial purposes. Its leaves and fruits are also rich in minerals, carotenoids and ascorbic acid. It is easy to plant and is resistant to drought, Afuang told participants.

Ellen Hardy

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