Meet a young man in a hurry who refused to go to college so he could enjoy his passion for growing bangus and later broilers. He is 27-year-old Christian Rillera of Bolinao, Pangasinan, who is taking charge of more than a hundred hectares of fishponds in an island that the family owns and elsewhere.
His mother is a medical doctor who runs a hospital in town and his father is an engineer with other business interests. No matter how his parents would urge him to go to college before, he just wanted to be a fish and later a poultry farmer.
His father was the first to engage in cage culture of bangus in Bolinao, at the same time developing the fishponds they owned in one of the islands. All along, he would bring the young Christian to the fish farms. And that could be the reason why he had loved to be a bangus grower and later a modern broiler contract grower currently with a bird population of 70,000 and still expanding.
What excites him a lot these days is the use of PCM or processed chicken manure for fishponds, a product of Novatech Food Industries founded by Dr. Ronaldo Sumaoang, a microbiologist who trained in Germany on fermentation technology.
The PCM is not just ordinary chicken manure. It is enriched with beneficial microorganisms and enzymes that promote the proliferation of algae that serve as natural fish feed.
Christian reveals that they gave up bangus cage culture in Bolinao because of the high cost of commercial feed. He pointed out that a fish cage of bangus can consume P1.5 million worth of feeds in one growing cycle. And how much is the value of the harvested fish? He places it at about P1.8 million. The problem is that when fish kill occurs or a strong typhoon devastates the cages, the loss could be staggering.
In the first trial of PCM in his fishpond the bangus fingerlings had grown much faster than those in the ponds without PCM. At two months old, the bangus are already 150 to 200 grams each. In one more month, they could already be harvestable for the market that prefers smaller sizes. Or they could be allowed to grow bigger, after all there is no commercial feed being supplied.
In one hectare that Christian stocked with 8,000 fingerlings the cost of PCM at 50 bags recommended by Dr. Sumaoang is only P19,000. If the same one hectare fishpond would be fed with commercial feed, the feed cost would be about P256,000. With this new development, Christian plans to rent the neglected fishponds of owners who have been discouraged by the high cost of commercial feeds.
Dr. Sumaoang estimates that if Christian would rent one hectare at P10,000 per growing cycle (two cycles a year), it would be easy for him to make a net profit of more than P120,000 per hectare per cycle.
CONTRACT BROILER GROWER – As a contract broiler grower of a big integrator, Christian started his operation in a big way. A contractor suggested by the integrator built his first tunnel vent poultry house for 35,000 birds at a cost of P15 million. He was wiser when he built his second house. He followed all the specified materials by the integrator. But by using his own workers, he was able to build a house similar to the first one at only P10 million.
Then he has adopted the use of Fly Glue and Biosec. Fly Glue is an imported material that eliminates the fly early on when there are flies that somehow managed to enter the house. Biosec, on the other hand, is another product of Dr. Sumaoang. It is a probiotic that eliminates the foul odor of the manure because it suppresses ammonia emission. It makes the manure dry so that the larvae of flies will not survive in the dry manure.
The fly problem is a major concern of many poultry raisers but not Christian. Before loading the chicks, Biosec is mixed with carbonized rice hull and then spread on the floor.
He also adopts other innovative practices. The birds are given unlimited feeds so that they can attain a weight of 1.5 kilos in just 26 days. But he switches off the light from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. to give the birds rest and to save on feeds also.
Christian must have found contract growing for a big company to be profitable. That is why he is currently constructing his third tunnel vent house at P10 million..