We already have food, and now we have fish and additional income.

CAIBIRAN,BILIRAN, January 30,2024 – “Mayada na kami luto, mayada pa kami sura (isda) ngan income,” optimistically shared by Mr. Felix Ramirez Jr., President of the Caibiran Farmers Irrigators Association (CFIA) in Biliran during their initial tilapia harvest on January 26, 2023. Sharing how the new aquabusiness by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) 8 Special Area of Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program Phase II complemented the existing agribusiness of their association.

Mr. Ramirez, along with his 15 member-farmers, used to solely focus on rice, coconut, and banana farming. Now, through the Tilapia in Pond project in Biliran, they have been capacitated and empowered to expand food production opportunities in agri-fisheries. A total of Php133,000 worth of intervention comprising 2,000 tilapia fingerlings, 33 bags of aquafeeds, and capacity-building activities have been initially granted to the association last July 2023.

Through a series of trainings and technical assistance provided by the BFAR through the Provincial Fisheries Office of Biliran, Regional Fisheries Training and Fisherfolk Coordination Division, and the Municipal Agriculture’s Office of Caibiran, the association successfully harvested 335 kilograms of tilapia from their two-compartment fishpond. Their fresh tilapia products were straight off bought by the locals of Caibiran, giving them an immediate sale of Php45, 000.

“Nagpapasalamat ako han BFAR nga nagkaada hin programa hini nga SAAD. Dako an bulig hini ha amon grupo. Hinaot unta magpadayon ini nga programa para umangat an amon mga panginabuhi, tagsa-tagsa ha amon.” These were the hopeful words of Mr. Rene Sinangote, auditor and member of CFIA.

(I am grateful to BFAR for having the SAAD program. This is a big help to our group. We hope that this program will continue to help each one of us improve our daily living.)

To date, the association plans to expand its fishpond and culture other species such as catfish and freshwater prawn to maximize its 185-hectare farmland for higher production. The association has also committed to earnestly working hand in hand for the sustainable management of its tilapia fishpond. Furthermore, keeps its doors open for possible opportunities for additional capacity-building activities from the Bureau to enhance its members’ competency in the said aquabusiness.

In addition to the beneficiaries in Caibiran, BFAR SAAD Phase II also extended the same intervention to fisherfolks in Kawayan and Almeria in Biliran. This initiative aims to promote inland production of tilapia and contribute to the fish sufficiency of the mentioned fifth-class municipalities.###

About DA-BFAR SAAD Phase 2:
The Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-BFAR SAAD) Program Phase 2 aims to contribute to poverty reduction and improve the living conditions of vulnerable fisherfolk and their communities by providing sustainable livelihood opportunities and support for poor fishing sectors. These interventions intend to complement the DA banner programs and assist beneficiaries in establishing community-based fishery enterprises. The BFAR-SAAD strives to enhance food security and promote economic growth in targeted areas across the Philippines.