We really admire people with innovative farming ideas. That is why we love to write about them. There’s always at least one bright idea that we can pick up from each one of them which we can share with our readers.
One such innovative fellow was Redemptor Balcita of Sinacaban, Misamis Occidental whom we interviewed in 1995. That was one year after he was honored in Malacañang as Outstandang Fish Farmer with a cash prize and a trophy.
Shrimps love to eat crushed Golden Kuhol.
A former seaman, Balcita was into prawn farming when we visited him. His fish farm in Brgy. Libertad Bajo was small but it was productive and profitable. The fish farm was only 9,500 square meters. It was profitable because Balcita knew how to save on cost of feeds.
At the time of our interview, Balcita was taking care of 35,000 prawns which he stocked on February 8, 1995. He expected to harvest them the following June and he estimated he would gross about P200,000. That was the same amount he made from a similar crop he harvested previously. He expected to make a profit of more than P100,000 in a growing period of four months. The fry cost him P7,000. He estimated the feeds to amount to about P72,000. He also allocated a few thousand pesos for his own labor.
The P72,000 he spent on feeds was considered low compared to those other prawn growers who depended entirely on commercial feeds. In his case, his feed cost was low b ecause he depended largely on the Golden Kuhol for his feed. He disclosed that 70 percent of his prawn feed was Golden Kuhol while commercial feed was only 15 percent. The other 15 percent consisted of the natural feeds growing in the pond.
Balcita explained that the prawns simply loved to feed on Golden Kuhol. They ate the crushed snails ahead of the commercial feed. Before crushing, the snails are washed thoroughly. Crushing was done simply by placing them on the cement floor, covering them with gunny sack, and then crushing them with a stone or similar instrument. After crushing the Kuhol, they are placed in a fine net and washed in running water to remove their slime. The crushed snails are then placed in the feeding trays. Balcita observed that the shrimps grew very fast with the crushed snails.
Balcita himself raised the kuhol that he fed to his shrimps. However, he also encouraged young people to gather them in the rice fields where they are a pest to the rice plants. He paid the gatherers P22.45 per kerosene can. That was already a big amount at that time. Balcita explained that when the shrimps are young, they are fed only two times a day. When they are bigger, say three months old, they are fed three times a day. And a few weeks before they are harvested, they are fed four times a day.
If you are a prawn grower, you should try feeding your stock with Golden Kuhol. For all you know, you could save a lot on feeds and make a good profit. (Memoirs of an Agri Journalist, Zac B. Sarian)