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Philippine Farmer Finds Profitability in Polyculture

PHILIPPINES Tilapia farmers in the northern province of Isabela province are expected to find their income go notches higher with the successful result of a demonstration project on polyculture technology.

Compared to monoculture (single-species) farming, polyculture offers additional income with the maximum utilization of a fishpond, by the simultaneous culture of two or more non-competing species, reports GMA news.

According to the news agency, during the Harvest Field Day at Raniag village in Isabela's aquaculture town of Ramon last week, demo cooperator Teresita Toquero said that she was able to successfully raise tilapia, common carp (burasi / russian / butchug) and African catfish (hito) in her 1,000-square-meter pond in a 4-month period.

She reported an additional income of around P10,000 more from the usual P17,000 estimated by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

“The carp, being pond bottom feeders and dwellers, helps maintain water quality by eating excess feeds and other detritus, while hito prevents overcrowding and unnecessary feed and oxygen competition by feeding on offspring of the tilapia," explained Hermogenes Tambalque, BFAR Extension chief for the Cagayan Valley region, to GMA news.

Emphasizing the importance of proper stocking ratio and timing, Tambalque said the project was stocked with 5,000 pieces of fingerlings, 80 percent of which were tilapia being the primary stock, 15 percent carp and 5 percent hito.

The cigarette-sized hito fingerlings, likewise, were introduced one month after the carp and tilapia were stocked to prevent predation.