FISH, NOT PORK. The Department of Agriculture and the local government of Quezon City award ASF-affected hog raisers in Barangay Payatas and Bagong Silangan on Friday (March 5, 2021) with alternative sources of livelihood. In photo, DA Undersecretary for Agri-Industrialization and for Fisheries Cheryl Natividad-Caballero, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, and Vice Mayor Gian Sotto award tilapia fingerlings and aquaculture sets to select beneficiaries. (Photo courtesy of DA-BFAR)

MANILA – To introduce alternative sources of income for hog raisers affected by African swine fever (ASF) in Payatas and Bagong Silangan in Quezon City, the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) offered them with an aquaculture support system on Friday.

Beneficiaries received 30 sets of aquaculture support systems while the other 30 were distributed to hog farmers in Barangay Bagong Silangan.

Each system included tilapia and hito (catfish) fingerlings and devices such as pump and filtration system.

They were also given fish feeds good for one whole growing cycle while hog raisers got four units of circular grow-out tanks with grow beds.

“We know that food security is also linked to our ability to source alternative forms of livelihood. We understand the grievances of our ASF-affected hog raisers and this problem is already being addressed by the Department of Agriculture,” DA Undersecretary for Agri-Industrialization and for Fisheries Cheryl Natividad-Caballero said in a live-streamed event.

The urban aquaculture project aims to raise the level of agro-fisheries productivity in cities by converting vacant lots or structures into food production areas, such as vegetable gardens, aquaponics, and fish tanks or backyard fishponds.

“Since there is a way to provide you with an alternative livelihood, the DA-BFAR program on urban aquaculture is here, and we are very happy that the city government of Quezon City has fully supported the implementation of the project,” Caballero added.

The project is aligned with the One DA approach initiated by Secretary William Dar, in support of President Rodrigo Duterte's whole-of-government approach in cascading programs that will speed up recovery efforts from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In an earlier interview, Caballero underscored the benefits of choosing a healthier diet that is not pork-dependent, citing the current problem on low pork supply in Metro Manila.

The DA also said on Thursday that prices of meat products in Metro Manila public wet markets have slowly leveled with the price ceiling mandated by Executive Order 124 that imposed a price ceiling on pork and chicken products. (PNA)