CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Thousands of participants from different regions in the country joined the recently concluded 5th Tilapia Congress held at the LausGroup Event Centre in this city.
Organized by the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fishery and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR), in partnership with the Philippine Tilapia Stakaholder’s Association Inc. (PhilTilapia), the two-day gathering convened the prime movers of the tilapia industry to update them on the current trends and best practices in aquafarming.
Speaking with the attendees, BFAR National Director Eduardo Gongona noted that the event, themed “Levelling Up The Philippine Tilapia Value Chain To Global Competitiveness,” also aims to usher in the advancement of the Philippine Tilapia to the global market.
“Tilapia is one of the high priority aquaculture commodity being promoted by the DA-BFAR. Exploring the global market will open up more opportunities for Filipino tilapia growers and fisherfolk,” he said.
Gongona revealed that Tilapia is the Philippines’ third largest aquaculture commodity, which grossed a total of over P20.7 billion in 2016.
He highlighted tilapia is the major contributor to the overall fisheries production of the country with more than 300,000 metric tons for the local and international market.
He added that in the first quarter of 2017 alone, the total production of the industry is 98,000 metric ton amounting to P7.1 billion.
“DA-BFAR has invested in research development to improve tilapia strains for aquaculture to boost production in order to secure food sufficiency in the country for the future years. We are committed to pursue the upgrade of aquaculture technology through prompt funding of government laboratories and hatcheries to explore innovations in order to produce more resilient strains,” he relayed.
The Tilapia Congress is joined by scientists and experts with their recommendations for issues varying from prospects of tilapia in the global trade, health and quality of the local fish stocks, to the improvement of Philippine Tilapia through the use of modern aquaculture advancements.
Gongona said this is part of the efforts to unify tilapia growers in a bid to level of the Philippine Tilapia as a global brand.
Aside from technical sessions, another highlight of the event is the “Tilapia: Tales of Success,” a forum where key players in the Philippine tilapia industry shared their success stories to inspire aquafarmers, cooperatives, and associations.
DA-BFAR Central Luzon Director Wilfredo Cruz noted that Central Luzon is proud to play host the congress, for five consecutive years.
“As we all know, the region is the number one producer of tilapia in the Philippines. We contribute over 45 percent of tilapia produce in the country, helping it maintain its position as the 4th tilapia producing country across the globe,” he shared.
“It is the same reason why for the last years, we are tasked and privileged to host this national congress which serves as a significant platform for us to sustain and elevate the country as one of the major suppliers of tilapia in the world,” he added.