Growing Tilapia In A Raceway
Agriculture|August 2019

RACEWAY, or flow-through system, is one of the earliest methods used to culture freshwater species. It usually consists of rectangular basins or canals with an inlet and outlet wherein continuous water flow in and out to provide the required level of water quality.

Rita T. Dela Cruz

In today’s modern times, this traditional method of growing aquaculture species is still very much alive and thriving among the Maeng Tribe in Tubo, Abra, a distant area in the North Philippines, which is home to around 6,000 people who are bound by their instinctive desire and love to conserve and protect their natural resources. Surrounded by endless mountains and rivers, the Maeng Tribe has kept their culture and traditions intact, and their people peace-loving and united.

One indigenous practice that has survived through time is the Lapat system. Lapat, which literally means “to prohibit” or “to regulate”, is a century old system of regulating the use of natural resources and its biodiversity. The system has three underlying principles: 1) stewardship, 2) communal ownership and collective responsibility, and 3) sustainability. The system is enforced by the Dap-ay, a system of governance of the Maeng Tribe for managing and directing the socio-economic, cultural, political and spiritual life of the people of the community. They are mainly consisted of elders in the community.

HARMONIZING NEW AND OLD PRACTICES

Merging indigenous practice with a relatively new concept is never an “eitheror” issue. Previous experience showed that harmonizing traditional and modern technologies can bring forth better chance of success in terms of better productivity and profitability for the farmers. Indigenous knowledge and practices, when given due consideration in introducing new technology or intervention, have a higher chance of producing successful generation and adoption at the farm level.

This was particularly proven true with the project, “Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR) on Tilapia Production in Fishponds” funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), and implemented by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic ResourcesCordillera Administrative Region (BFAR-CAR).

CPAR, a flagship program of BAR, is a location-specific research-cum-extension activity that aims to improve the productivity and profitability of farmer-beneficiaries by applying effective total farm productivity within the context of a sustainable production and farming system approach.

Initially, the project was implemented in two barangays of Tubo, Abra, namely Tubtuba, and Dilong, with 70 fishfarmers as project cooperators.

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