Smart aquaculture in MIMAROPA rises: Fostering food security through S&T solutions

Newly constructed solar-powered Urban Multi-Species Shed

Nestled in the agricultural town of Roxas, Oriental Mindoro is a newly launched solar-powered tilapia and milkfish hatchery and intensive aquaculture facility for white shrimp managed by the Agritektura Enterprises. The facility, which was launched last 3 March 2021, was funded by the Department of Science and Technology-MIMAROPA (DOST-MIMAROPA) through one of its flagship programs, the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP).

Provincial S&T Director Jesse M. Pine, Science Research Specialist II Engr. Zaldie C. Gawad,
Arch. Francis Neil B. Quijano, and Roxas MSTC Anthony Galit, during the launching of the solar-powered tilapia and milkfish hatchery and intensive aquaculture facility for white shrimp.

Through this project, DOST-MIMAROPA aims to promote smart aquaculture to encourage the industry to adopt smart technologies and processes to increase productivity and competitiveness.

Behind the innovation is Architect Francis Neil B. Quijano, a native of the said town, along with his partners in Agritektura which stands for Agrikultura, Arkitektura, Teknolohiya, Edukasyon, Kalikasan, Kalusugan, Kasaysayan, Komersyo, Komunidad, Komunikasyon, Turismo at Kultura. It is a polycentric, integrated, and multidisciplinary group born out of the sole purpose of uniting a multi-sectoral MIMAROPA.

Driven by the country’s need for more sustainable food ecosystems, Quijano ventured into reviving the aquaculture industry in the province by integrating science and technology (S&T)-based solutions. This led them to partner with DOST-MIMAROPA and acquire a solar-powered hatchery that can be used for the grow-out and production of high-quality fingerlings of tilapia and milkfish and sustain the facility’s Recirculating Agriculture System (RAS).
What’s in the facility
 The first of its kind in the MIMAROPA region, the smart facility is composed of hatchery, grow-out ponds, and a 10-meter diameter circular pond.

It has a full capacity of 1,500 breeders that can produce 500 fingerlings per breeder per month, while the grow-out ponds have the capacity of 13,000 fingerlings. The circular pond, on the other hand, can accommodate 100,000 white shrimp fry per rearing season.

It employs the RAS which is a new fish farming technique. As compared to traditional aquaculture wherein setup is usually established along seashores, open-air ponds, or near any body of water, the RAS allows the rearing of fish in urban areas or any structure with high densities such as tanks with a “controlled” environment. The system incorporates a recirculating system filter and cleans the water for recycling back through fish culture tanks. This future-forward technology has seen numerous economic and environmental advantages over conventional aquaculture systems due to reduced water and surface area requirements, ability to control the water temperature and quality, protection against adverse weather conditions and predators, absence of leaks, and controlled discharge of waste.

The structure is also fully solar power-operated that helps the enterprise reduce its monthly electrical expenses by as much as PHP 25,000.00.

10-meter wide White Shrimp Grow-out Circular Pond

Why aquaculture?

The newly-harvested tilapia fingerlings

According to DOST-Oriental Mindoro Provincial S&T Director Jesse M. Pine, they have been eyeing aquaculture for the past three years since the commodity shows potentials in addressing food and nutritional security because of the efficient feed conversion ratio (FCR) compared to livestock production.

Aquatic animals such as farmed shrimp and fish have a lower feed conversion ratio (1.0-2.4) compared to beef (6.0-10.00), pigs (2.7-5.0), and chicken (1.7-2.0) due to their buoyant and cold-blooded characteristics. The lower the FCR value, the higher its efficiency.

Through the adoption of new S&T solutions, the productivity of aquatic resources in the province is expected to increase over time.

Enabling community transformers

Arch. Quijano while introducing the Solar-powered Urban Multi-Species Shed

The facility has been set up as a way to change the lives of the “community transformers,” as Quijano says, referring to the locals in the municipality of Roxas. He said that the purpose of the project is to empower their community to efficiently function and sustain themselves by providing innovative resources.
 Agritektura, with the primary intention of boosting food production in the municipality, said that they also hope to see their project make an impact in the neighboring towns and provinces as well.

All these interventions were made possible through the SETUP program of the DOST. It is one of the flagship programs of the Department being implemented by all its regional offices that encourages and assists micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in adopting technological innovations to improve their products and operations. Under the program, beneficiaries can avail of a seed fund for technology acquisition, technical training and consultancy services, new equipment and equipment upgrading, packaging and labeling, database information systems, and other support for establishing product standards. By: Charlotte F. Pizarras, DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Office
      Jesse M. Pine, PSTC-Oriental Mindoro

Sinacaban in Misamis Occidental heightens disaster preparedness
thru DOST support

To intensify community disaster preparedness in flood-prone areas, the Department of Science and Technology Region X (DOST-X) recently turned over a check amounting to Php 209,400 to the Local Government Unit of Sinacaban (LGU-Sinacaban) in Misamis Occidental.

Flooding has become prevalent in Sinacaban’s lowlands and coastal areas, as well as near the floodplains of its major rivers. Historical records from the past few years show that the municipality experienced the worst floods in 1999, 2008, 2010, and 2014.

The floods are usually the effect of continuous rains caused by Intertropical Convergence Zones (ITCZ) and Low-Pressure Areas (LPA). As a result, these natural hazards cause damage to several crops, livestock, fishponds, government, and private structures in the barangays.

Unfortunately, the municipality’s disaster surveillance has been insufficient due to the lack of weather monitoring devices to monitor rainfall in the area.

To address the problem, the DOST-X and LGU-Sinacaban formed a partnership to empower the municipality and increase its resiliency in times of natural disasters and calamities. The turned-over fund will be used to acquire Automated Rain Gauges (ARGs) to be installed in Barangay Tipan and Barangay Katipunan; one for each barangay. The Mindanao PAGASA Regional Services Division (MPRSD) of the DOST-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) validated the barangays as feasible sites for gathering and transmitting rainfall data for disaster response.

The MPRSD will provide a one-day training on the operation, installation, maintenance, troubleshooting, and rainfall data management of the ARGs. The weather forecasting agency will also give an orientation on its products and services, local forecasting and warnings, and updates in the disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) system to enhance the existing three-year municipal DRRM plan of LGU-Sinacaban.

This initiative is under the DOST-X’s Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) program that seeks to aid fourth- to sixth-class communities in five key entry points: disaster risk reduction and management and climate change adaptation, economic development, health and nutrition, human resource development, and environmental protection and conservation.

For more information of the different projects of DOST-X, please contact Julie Anne H. Baculio, Science Research Specialist I (, 0917-709-3706) (Grazelle Dela Cruz, DOST-X)

NAST PHL brings ScienTeach to Catanduanes
 Following its successful run in 2020, the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST PHL) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) continues its virtual tour across the country to bring the ScienTeach Virtual Symposium for the Youth to the provinces.

For 2021, the Province of Catanduanes was the first to benefit from this NAST endeavor. Held on 08 March 2021 in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology Regional Office V (DOST-V) and the Provincial Science and Technology Center (DOST V PSTC) – Catanduanes, the ScienTeach in Catanduanes was able to promote science and technology. Furthermore, this activity provided an opportunity encourage the pursuit of scientific careers not only among the youth and junior students of the island province, but of the entire Bicol Region as well.

Academician and DOST-NAST PHL President Dr. Rhodora V. Azanda expressed the hope that the virtual symposium “will be a great avenue to share knowledge and excitement in pursuing science” and inspire the youth to “lead and serve for our fellowmen, like the scientists we have today”.

Dr. Susan Collano, Department of Education-Catanduanes OIC-Schools Division Superintendent, in her pre-recorded message, enjoined the youth to be excited at the prospects of the symposium, enjoy exploring the natural and techno environments, contribute to sustainability, sustain their sense of curiosity, and uphold truths thru science.

Presenting DOST’s S&T programs and services to the youth and students, DOST-V
Regional Director Rommel R. Serrano introduced the participants to S&T Scholarships, student entrepreneurship assistance under the DOST-Academe Technology-Based Enterprise Development (DATBED), inventive enthusiasm through the Invent School Program (ISP), DOST Courseware applications for virtual learning & teaching, and the Science & Technology Academe & Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosks (STARBOOKS) digital library. Dir. Serrano also urged student inventors and researchers to join upcoming S&T events and competitions, particularly the 2021 Regional Invention Contest & Exhibits (RICE).

The symposium featured three DOST-NAST PHL Academicians as resource speakers: Acd.

Aura C. Matias, Acd. Jose Maria P. Balmaceda, and Acd. Gullermo Q. Tabios III who discussed ergonomics (Ergonomics of Computer Workstations), the geometry of curved lines, objects & spaces (Nothing Seems Straight in Today’s World), and water resources engineering (Water Resources Engineering: Modeling Studies), respectively.

ScienTeach is only one of the many undertakings of DOST-NAST PHL as the country’s highest S&T recognition body and principal advisor to the country on Science, Technology & Innovation that contributes to national development and promotion of a strong science culture among the Filipinos. (DAPena, Jr. / MFLMiranda, DOST V; MGTMolina, PSTC-Catanduanes; NAST PHL)