KICKS OFF IN GUIMARAS: SEAFDEC seeks to lower cost of aquafeeds

SEAFDEC/AQD chief Dan Baliao (5th from right), Scientist Dr. Roger Edward Mamauag (4th from right), and NFRDI interim executive director and BFAR assistant director for technical services Drusila Esther Bayate (6th from right) together with NFRDI and BFAR officers during the launching of the field testing project in Guimaras (Photo by SEAFDEC/J. F. Aldon)

NUEVA Valencia, Guimaras – A new feed formulation that hopes to lower the cost of fish farming and make fish more affordable to the masses kicked off with the field-testing of the low-cost feed at the Igang Marine Station of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) last May 15, 2019.

The new formulation, developed by SEAFDEC’s scientist Dr. Roger Edward Mamauag, uses cheaper alternative ingredients and will also be tested around the country in partnership with the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

“Dr. Mamauag was able to have an initial comparison of this diet with a commercial diet before. Consistent yung result, walang significant difference. Yung sizes ng bangus malaki pa rin kahit ito yung gagamitin,” said Dan Baliao, chief of SEAFDEC’s Aquaculture Department (AQD).

Baliaoalso added that the new feed formulation costs Php22-23 per kilogram to produce in SEAFDEC/AQD’s pilot-scale feed mill. Commercial feed is currently priced at Php32 per kilogram.

Dr. Mamauag added that the feed cost can still go down if the feed is produced in a commercial scale. However, the positive research result still needs to be verified through field testing.

Dr. Mamauag explained that the field testing of the feed in Guimaras is for milkfish reared in sea cages. This feed will also be tested in milkfish sea cages located in Pangasinan, La Union, and Guiuan, Eastern Samar. He also said that there will also be a field testing of low-cost aquaculture feed for tilapia in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija;Lala, Lanao del Norte; and Batangas.

“After ng run of these verification trials, we intend to give this formulation, if proven successful, to the private feed manufacturer for them to adopt,” said Dr. Mamauag.

Moreover, according to Maria Theresa Mutia, chief aquaculturist of NFRDI, commercial adoptors will be tapped for the validation of the verification trials on the third year of this three-year project. “BFAR na yung bahala mag-identify kung sino yung mga magandang sites for the adoption,” she said.

Drusila Esther Bayate, NFRDI interim executive directorand BFAR assistant director for technical services, was also present during the launching in Guimaras and expressed NFRDI and BFAR’s full support to SEAFDEC/AQD throughout the duration of this project.

“So we hope that this project will be a success. I foresee it will be because of its practicality and it’s really a very good technology… Actually you already have a research paper. So ito nalang, just to convince the private sector,” said Bayate.

SEAFDEC/AQD through its Research Head Dr. Leobert de la Peña also committed to consider this project as a top priority and to willingly share its expertise and technical capability to make this project a success. “As we all know; our main goal here is to lower aquaculture production cost for the benefit of fish farmers here in the Philippines,” said de la Peña.