Title of policy paper: Attaining Maximum/Optimum Productivity in Aquaculture: The Next Best Alternative
Authors: Dr. Castor C. de Jesus, Dr. Lilian G. Bondoc and Ms. Cynthia V. Almazan of the Aquatic Resources Socio-Economics and Policy Division of Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development (PCAMRD) has been published.
The policy paper attempts to provide facts and information to show that "attaining maximum/optimum productivity in aquaculture" is the next best alternative in enhancing fish production. Specifically, it aimed to determine sources of growth of the aquaculture industry, identify problems constraining the growth of the aquaculture industry and thresh out issues and concerns that must be attended to for sustained growth of the aquaculture industry.
Secondary data such as area, volume and value of aquaculture production, volume and value of exports of aquaculture products were gathered. Sources of growth and prospects for aquaculture were analyzed using averages, graphs/scatter diagram and production frontier and regression analyses. Problems constraining the growth of the aquaculture industry were indentifed using the Aquatic Resources Socio-Economics and Policy Research Database Information System.
The volume and value of aquaculture production have been growing at annual rates of 6.83% and 12.36%, respectively. These growth rates were higher compared to commercial and municipal fishing sectors. In terms of contribution to total fish production and value of production, the aquaculture sector contributed 30.78% and 34.65%, respectively. This shows the important role the sector will play in fish production in the coming years.
Increases in aquaculture production were affected more by increases in area than increases in productivity. Increases in the value of aquaculture production were due both to increases in the volume of aquaculture production and prices received for aquaculture products.
Production frontier analyses revealed technical inefficiences existed in the production of milkfish in brackishwater fishpond (40%), tilapia in freshwater fishpond (25%) and shrimp/prawn in brackishwater fishpond (87%). Such inefficiencies resulted to yield gaps/differences of 1,000 kg/ha, 1,000 kg/ha and 6,600 kg/ha for milkfish in brackishwater fishpond, respectively. If these yield gaps could be minimized if not eliminated, then substantial increases in aquaculture production could be achieved.
More important factors related to increasing production in milkfish, tilapia and seaweeds were farm gate price, retail and wholesale prices of the commodity, farm wages, retail prices of substitutes, and export price of commodity.
Problems constraining the growth of the aquaculture industry include scarcity/low supply of fry, insufficiency of quality fingerlings/seeds/culture materials, unavailability of area for expansion, high cost of inputs, lack/unavailability/difficulty in getting credit, low and fluctuating prices, and natural disturbances/weather/typhoon/floods, among others.
The paper concluded that aquaculture activity promises a great prospect in terms of increased aquaculture production through increases in both area and productivity. Therefore, aquaculture is seen as the next best alternative in terms of increased fish production provided that problems and issues and concerns facing the industry are well attended to.
Note: This paper was published as part of the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development's thrusts on policy advocacy. The paper has been distributed to policy-makers and libraries of the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development System (NARRDS) members and other government agencies in the Philippines.