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Duckweed as Fish Feed: Philippine Independence

TUGUEGARAO CITY, PHIIPPINES - In a bid to address the global economic crisis, fishery officials in the Cagayan Valley region have introduced cost-reduction and productivity enhancement technologies.

Recognizing how fish farmers are burdened by high- input costs, particularly feeds, the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has included in its plans for 2009, the widespread promotion of duckweeds as supplemental feed for tilapia, bangus, pangasius and carp, writes Rosenda B. Alluad, correspondent for BusinessMirror.

Duckweeds are small flowering plants with a reported crude protein content of 18 per cent to 42 per cent. An earlier study made at the bureau’s fish farm in Iguig, Cagayan has determined the viability of this rapidly reproducing plant as alternative diet without adverse effect on the growth of tilapia.

According to BusinessMirror, the study has determined an optimum feeding mixture of 50-percent fresh duckweeds and 50-percent commercial feeds. The combination achieved higher growth rate compared to fish fed with commercial feeds.

A 1,000-square-meter, semi-intensive fishpond using the duckweed feed combination easily cut farm expenses by more than P10, 000 or more than 20 bags in the 4-month to 5-month culture cycle. More than P100,000 can be cut on expenses of a hectare of fishpond.

“Considering that costs of commercial feeds have risen by less than 10 per cent to 25 per cent based on 2008 figures, while retail price of tilapia had remained constant, the 50-percent savings will certainly mean a lot. Duckweeds will also help us address dependence on imported corn as raw material for feeds, which is currently around 90 per cent of total national requirement,” Fisheries and Aquatic Resources regional director Jovita Ayson said.

the Fish Site Editor

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