Thirty-one participants, including select incubatees, fisherfolk, and representatives from the local government unit (LGU) and the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) 6, were trained on backyard raising of freshwater ornamental fish, on May 17-18, 2023 in Oton, Iloilo.

Conducted by the DA-National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI), through the Freshwater Fisheries Research and Development Center (FFRDC), the training aimed to equip participants on the operations and management of backyard ornamental fish farms through a mix of expert lectures and discussions and practical entrepreneurial tips.

The training is part of the AquaBiz School (ABS) and Technology Business Incubation (TBI) program of NFRDI that focuses on the promotion of matured technology in ornamental fish culture and breeding, fish health management, culture of natural food, and quality standard management.

During the program, Myleen Magistrado, FFRDC project leader, discussed the overview, roles and responsibilities, and timeline of the project. Meanwhile, Frederick Muyot, FFRDC study leader, emphasized the farmers’ practices versus the package of technology (POT) on freshwater ornamental fish production.

Rosa Cadano, municipal agriculturist of Oton, Iloilo, welcomed the participants and delivered her insights on the project; followed by Eusebio Villavicencio Jr., municipal administrator who was grateful that Oton was chosen as the beneficiary of the project.

Delivering a message in behalf of BFRA 6 Director Remia Aparri was Riza Chua, senior aquaculturist, who was hopeful that through the training, the participants will be encouraged to adopt the POT that will improve their farm operations. She also urged them to organize into a group or association to strengthen their linkages with other ornamental fish raisers.

“You are lucky dahil sa dami ng probinsya at munisipyo sa atin, kayo [incubatees] ang napiling bigyan ng supporta para sa inyong business. Kaya pahalagahan ninyo ang mga ibibigay na agricultural materials at technical assistance from NFRDI upang mapalago ninyo at mas makilala pa ang Oton in terms of ornamental fish farming,” she added.

After the training, a short meeting was held to elect new set of officers of the Oton Ornamental Fish Keepers Association (OOFKA), a newly formed association of backyard ornamental fish raisers. OOFKA aims to strengthen the establishment of ornamental fish production in the municipality. ### (James Carl Arespi)