Improved Food Security
Food Security - Aquaculture
1 Feb 2010
31 Oct 2011
Improved Food Security through Aquaculture
About 75% of Philippine coral reefs, lakes, mangroves, primary forests, and rivers have been destroyed or damaged, principally as a result of unsustainable practices and population growth. This degradation threatens the food security and health of millions of Filipinos, with the incidence of poverty in rural areas at 54%, more than double that of urban areas (25%).
Fish have always been a vital source of animal protein, healthy lipids, and micronutrients in the country, but declining capture fisheries and higher fish prices have reduced the availability and affordability of fish for consumption by the poor. Some poor fishers, who previously caught about 20 kg of fish per day, now catch only about 2 kg. Aquaculture is now seen as the main means of providing more fish to feed the country’s urban and rural poor, with farmed fish like tilapia now cheaper than chicken and increasingly seen in the diets of poor people.
Focused-Food Production Assistance to Vulnerable Sectors (FPAVAS)
FPAVAS is one of a number of European Union projects that were introduced into the Philippines in direct response to the 2008 global food crisis. The project aims to alleviate poverty and improve the wellbeing of farmers and fishers, while also ensuring their access to safer food, by focusing on food production in the upland, lowland, and water bodies of coastal and inland areas in six priority provinces.
The provinces were selected as partners based on their high incidence of poverty and vulnerability to the risks of climate change. One of the provinces has been given priority due to its enormous agricultural potential. There is also a strong likelihood that all six provinces will maximize benefits from the interventions/support so as to produce economic impacts that could spill over into other poorer areas.
Given the economic imperative identified above, one of the key components of this project relates to aquaculture production. By 2020, aquaculture is expected to contribute to 41% of total fish production, a figure that is likely to continue to increase. The introduction of Nile tilapia into the Philippines has already seen production increases of almost 200% with decreased production costs. Still, there is more work to be done.
Food Security - Aquaculture
WorldFish in collaboration with SEARCA is providing technical support to the aquaculture development component of FPAVAS through the Food Security – Aquaculture project. Working with partners, particularly the Local Government Units, the project aims to further increase aquaculture yield through the provision of expertise on the development of appropriate aquaculture and mariculture technologies (mariculture is a specialized branch of aquaculture that is undertaken only in marine environments) in the coastal regions and inland waters of each of the six provinces.
Key project activities include the rehabilitation of hatcheries for the production of fingerlings, the acquisition of postharvest facilities and equipment, and the provision of training for aquaculture and mariculture technologies.
Poverty reduction and an improved economy
At the project’s conclusion, it is projected that aquaculture and mariculture in each of the six provinces will be more sustainable; the supply of tilapia and fingerlings will be more dependable; new fishery products (such as milkfish and ulang) will be available through the use of marine cages; and there will be a greater understanding of the extent to which this industry contributes to fishers’ income and livelihoods.
The overarching vision is a Philippine aquaculture industry that is pro-poor, responsible, globally competitive, sustainable, productive, profitable and equitable. With the support of this project, and with adequate and sustained investment, Philippine aquaculture can achieve this vision and make a significant contribution to poverty reduction and the development of the national economy.