BFAR – CAR headed by Regional Director Lilibeth Signey, in partnership with the City Government through Mayor Benjamin Magalong, launched the program with the turn over of 10 units of solar – powered AquaPonics system to 10 beneficiaries that include four public high schools and six aquaculture cooperators in Baguio.
Signey outlined that the project is part of the “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra sa COVID - 19 program of the DA. It is a technology that combines planting of vegetables and fish farming/production at the community level.
For the initial phase, there are 20 AquaPonics units produced, wherein aside from the 10 turned 0over to Baguio, 10 more are al set for distribution to other provinces with six for Benguet, two for Kalinga and one each for Abra and Mountain Province.
Promoting urban and backyard fish farming/production will be a big help in Baguio and the Cordillera which is only producing around 13 percent of the region’s fish product requirement, Signey said.
BFAR – CAR provincial Fishery Officer Arnulfo Taberna Jr. explained that the solar - powered Aquaponics system costs P45, 000, which aside from the equipment also includes vegetable seeds and fingerlings.
Each unit can handle 103 veggie seedlings (lettuce, pechay, kangkong, camote or tomato) stockings and 100 pieces of fish (fingerlings - 75 tilapia and 25 Catfish). The system with its solar cells can store 12 hours of battery operations, he added.
Magalong commended the BFAR project which he agreed could greatly help in ensuring the availability of vegetable and fish supply at the household and community level. He assured the city government’s support for such initiative by looking into the provision of solar panels for fish farming/production stakeholders in the city.
Project beneficiary David Dolawan from Camp 7 shared that their backyard gardening and fish farming helped his family a lot in this time of COVID pandemic becoming their source of food. He is thankful for the aquaponics integrated system which will also be a big help being a space saver with less water requirement and no electricity cost.
DA Undersecretary for Fisheries and BFAR National Director Retired Commodore Eduardo Gongono, in his official visit to Baguio to meet with BFAR – CAR stakeholders, also encouraged the people of Baguio and Cordillera to help ensure food security especially in this
By Carlito C. Dar