MANILA, Philippines Isabela State University (ISU) is going into research and development to allow local formulation and manufacture of feeds for freshwater eel as it pursues an effort to spawn a more lucrative freshwater eel production and export industry in the country.
ISU president Ricmar Aquino said the university was pursuing the R&D project in its newly inaugurated Cagayan Valley Freshwater Fisheries Center (CVFFC) established in the ISU-Roxas campus.
The CVFFC was built from funds provided by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) under its Niche Center in the Regions (NICER) program.
The NICER program aims to build capacity of higher education institutions (HEIs) and state universities and colleges (SUCs), specifically in the regions, to undertake quality research that will contribute to countryside development through the upgrade of their S&T infrastructure.
We need to formulate our own feeds for eels, because the feeds we have now are expensive. We import them from Japan and Taiwan, Aquino told The STAR in an interview at the recent Cagayan Valley Regional Science and Technology Week celebrations held in the Cagayan State University in Tuguegarao City.
Aquino said that the R&D seeks to tap local raw materials to ensure that the feeds to be developed will be affordable and easy to produce.
This project, feed formulation, is our top priority, Aquino said.
The university president said they saw widespread freshwater eel farming as a potential multibillion-peso agricultural industry not just for Isabela province, but for the whole Cagayan Valley and other agricultural regions of the country.
Right now, the Cagayan Valley region is already a source of elvers by freshwater eel farmers in other regions, Aquino said.
The R&D on freshwater eel feed formulation is an expansion R&D at the ISU-CVFFC which is engaged in the project to locally develop the aquaculture technology that will allow the massive raising and breeding of Cagayan Valleys high-value fish called ludong and freshwater eel igat.
William Medrano, ISU vice president for research, development and extension, has said the project will address concerns of extinction especially for the ludong or lobed river mullet that can only be found in the Cagayan river, while at the same time offer the prospect of creating a high-value product for fishpond operators in Region 2.
Ludong, also called the Presidents fish, commands from P4,000 to P6,000 per kilo because of limited supply.