|Basilan Tilapia Farming Initiated By Christian-Muslim Co-op|
What is believed to be the first commercial tilapia farm in Basilan province has been established by the Santa Clara Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Integrated Development Cooperative in Lamitan, with technical assistance from USAID’s Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program, which is implemented under the oversight of the Mindanao Economic Development Council. The co-op, which is comprised of both Christian and Muslim members (above), including former combatants of the Moro National Liberation Front, had already been producing rubber, coffee and cacao. The tilapia venture is expected to yield a monthly average of approximately 1.6 metric tons of tilapia, which is currently being sold in Basilan at about 50 pesos per kilo. It will also serve as a demonstration farm for growers ready to diversify into freshwater fish farming, which would help to generate more income locally, and provide a source of dietary protein at relatively low cost for this inland community.
Published in Mindanao Daily Mirror, May 7, 2009; Manila Bulletin, May 8, 2009