A 2-day hybrid Multi-stakeholders Consultation for Tilapia and Aquafeeds Industry Strategic S&T Programs (ISPs) and Crafting of Strategies for the Establishment of Tilapia Hatchery was held on January 10–11, 2024. It aims to solicit firsthand issues, concerns, and/or problems faced by the aquaculture operators, feed millers, researchers, local government units, and public-private institutions in tilapia and aquafeeds production.
Led by the Inland Aquatic Resources Research Division (IARRD) of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD), the activity also seeks to formulate innovative S&T solutions that cater to the current needs and landscape of the industry.
During the first day of the event, the representatives from different key aquaculture player groups divided themselves into Tilapia and Aquafeeds breakout sessions to collaboratively brainstorm and discuss each industry’s current landscape.
The Tilapia ISP group determined gaps regarding low production during cold and warm season, Tilapia Lake virus (TiLV), challenges in maintaining water quality, environmental issues, high electricity cost for hatcheries, low adoption or utilization of technology among tilapia farmers, high susceptibility to diseases, and limited access to breeding nucleus.
On the other hand, the Aquafeeds ISP group raised gaps on high feed conversion ratio, inadequate data on the nutrient profile of locally-available feed ingredients, lack of backup natural food culture, insufficient information for possible adoption of existing technologies, feed management, and policy gap on aquafeed importation.
Under the collective guidance of attending implementing agencies, and through conversing and consulting with farmers, operators, growers and feed millers, the group have pinpointed specific research and development (R&D) programs aimed at addressing the abovementioned challenges.
On the event's second day, the focus shifted to strategically formulating plans for establishing tilapia hatcheries in key regions of the country. Twelve State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) came together to develop programs and projects addressing the issues identified during the stakeholders’ consultation on day one.
Among the R&D initiatives determined were improvement of a tilapia strain, reproductive performance of tilapia using different dietary additives, hatchery-nursery culture systems, and probiotics to address tilapia diseases. The participating project leaders and researchers are expected to devise a holistic program encapsulating all the discussions.
The event was graced by a total of 45 participants both from Zoom and in-person attendance.
This was held as a crucial start to build effective and relevant strategic R&D programs for the aquaculture industry. With the start of another year centered on research, project implementation, and continued science and technology initiatives, DOST-PCAARRD remains committed towards attaining an improved aquaculture productivity for all.