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Tilapia Hatchery Enhances Leytes Food Security

PHILIPPINES - March 22, 2012 marks the ceremonial project opening of the Leyte Provincial Freshwater Fish Hatchery in Barangay Libongao in Kananga town, a project which is aimed at enhancing food security in the province of Leyte.

The Hatchery is a province-wide approach to encourage farmers to diversify in aquaculture production in order to augment the income of poor households while securing at the same time food availability and quality in the province.

Expected to grace the event are Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla, Dr Andreas Lange of GIZ-EFOS, BFAR OIC Director Justerie Granali, Director Antonio Gerundio of DA RFU 8, Kananga Mayor Elmer Codilla, Provincial Agriculturist Rogelio Portula, provincial officials, mayors, as well as backyard fishpond operators.

Activities include a short programme, ceremonial stocking of breeders, fingerling dispersal, and interaction with beneficiaries by national and local media.

The Leyte Provincial Freshwater Fish Hatchery is an expansion of the mini-fish hatchery of Kananga Integrated Production Center (KIPC) that was established in 2007 to encourage farmers to diversify in aquaculture production. However, KIPC was unable to cope with the required production of fingerlings.

With its opening, Leyte now boasts of a provincial hatchery which caters to the tilapia needs of backyard fishpond operators in the province. Since it became operational last year, the Hatchery was able to disperse a total of 584,300 tilapia fingerlings to 1,281 backyard farmers in 23 municipalities in the province.

The P5.38 million Hatchery was funded by the GIZ-European Union-Enhancement of Food Security in the Visayas (EFOS) in the amount of P4,240,193; the provincial government of Leyte in the amount of P1,066,979; and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the amount of P74,000.

The hatchery was established to specifically produce and sustain tilapia fry/fingerlings production for dispersal to household pond operators initially at 500 pieces each for free. Additional fingerling requests costs P.15 and P.35 for 0.02-0.2 grams and 0.56-1.5 grams, respectively.

Tilapia, also called as aquatic chicken, is a very popular fish in the country reared in cages, pens, and backyard ponds, Cielo Nogar of the Leyte Provincial Agriculture Office informed. It has high consumer acceptability and tastes better than other freshwater fishes. Reports show that it has a low calorie count and has two to five times less fat than the leanest pork or beef. It is high in protein, low in sodium, and a good source of niacin, phosphorus, vitamin B12 and selenium.

Lucy Towers

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