by Kristina Aloida N. Tolentino
The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) showcased different innovations that aim to solve environmental, agricultural and food sustenance problems in the country during the 2014 Syensaya fair at the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) Copeland gymnasium. On the second day of the exhibit at the PCAARRD booth, the featured products were research development focused on rice production, coconut trade and processing, and tilapia breeding.
The highlight of the exhibit was the aquarium filled with Red Nile Tilapia.
Willie Ibarra, science research specialist at PCAARD, said that the showcase aims to attract and inform people about the emerging market for Red Nile tilapia, a high-quality tilapia known for its appealing red color, which is attributed to the Mossambique tilapia crossbred with the Nile tilapia for faster growth.
This breed of tilapia was originally imported from Singapore in 1978 and has been improved locally to introduce a different variant aside from the commonly available gray, cheap, and fingerling tilapia.
According to Ibarra, PCAARD is trying to revive the market for this “Class A” breed of tilapia to have a cheaper alternative to the high-priced marine species. The market hampered due to the mass market of the common grey Nile tilapia.
The institution partnered with the National Tilapia Research and Development Program for funding and also with the Central Luzon State University-Freshwater Aquaculture Center (CLSU-FAC) to lead and improve on research.