A 53-year-old former ordinary farm worker in a fish farm quit his job and put up his own tilapia hatchery in Brgy. Rizal, Santiago City in Isabela. In 2018, he was the Gawad Saka winner in the Fish Culture Category and received P300,000 in prizes from the national and regional levels. Of course, that’s peanuts compared to his income from the sales of his tilapia fingerlings.
Vicente Lugagay produces 300,000 to 500,000 fingerlings a month which he sells not only in Isabela but also in other places in Nueva Vizcaya, Cagayan, Pampanga and the Cordillera Administrave Region.
Lugagay won his national and regional awards because of the practical and innovative technologies he has adopted in running his tilapia hatchery.
LOW FEED COST – He cuts feed costs and ensures viability of his fishponds by using the green water technology during the breeding stage. This entails pond fertilization using chicken manure to produce natural food for the fish (planktons and moina). The use of natural feeds is much more economical than using commercial feeds. With natural food, the tilapia breeders don’t expel their eggs during mouth brooding.
Aside from planktons and moina, Lugagay uses other natural feeds such as duckweeds, azolla and dried soft-shelled shrimp (for high protein diet). Homemade probiotics are also used to provide vigor to the breeders and prevent mortality during the hot summer months.
MORE STURDY FINGERLINGS – Lugagay also installed a special pump in his conditioning tanks instead of the conventional flow-through and aeration system. This allows for more sturdy fingerlings, thereby higher survival. Sex reversal is achieved in only four days instead of the usual 21 days.
ADAPTABLE TO CLIMATE CHANGE – Lugagay’s fingerlings are also adaptable to climate change which he achieves by crossbreeding specific tilapia strains. (Excerpts from a release by Max Prudencio, BFAR Region2