BAGUIO CITY – Four schools from the city city were awarded with units of solar-powered urban aquaponics during the Launching and Turnover of Urban Aquaponics Project at the Motorpool ground of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Cordillera Regional Field Office (BFAR-RFO).

Mayor Benjamin Magalong, together with BFAR officials turn-over the solar-powered urban aquaponics units to Pinsao National High School, Baguio City National High School Main, Guisad Valley National High School, and Pines City National School during the program last August 27.

“The irrevocable role of BFAR plays in echoing the need for sustainable food production and distribution is one that we fully support and cannot wait to put into motion,” Magalong said.

Magalong highlighted the need to come up with measures that would address the issues of the changing world, such as problems concerning an increasing global population, and massively declining resources. He mentioned that these problems require solutions that go against the traditional norm.

He said, “With this (aquaponics) technology, Baguio City–being located in the highlands, stands a chance in using its own fish produce or resources. We are deeply honored to accept the project in the hopes that this will not only serve as an inspiration in promoting resiliency, but also provide better nutrition to our people. After all, it guarantees local food production free from harsh pesticides and chemical fertilizers. What else can we ask for?”

BFAR-CAR Director Lilibeth Signey said, the project is in line with the implementation of the fisheries resiliency project under the Department of Agriculture’s Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) COVID-19 Program.

Signey discusses that aquaculture is one of the main sources of fish protein in the region. Because of small-scale production, the sufficiency level of the region is at 13% as of 2018. This is why most of the seafood protein requirements of Cordillerans depend on supplies from neighboring regions and provinces.

Aquaponics integrates both hydroponics and aquaculture. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, aquaponics can draw substantial amounts of food in a situation where soil-based agriculture is difficult or impossible, provided that the system is properly balanced.

Aquaponics is the result of the refocused budget due to the COVID-19 pandemic.A total of P3.8 million was realigned to achieve this goal in 2020.

DA-CAR Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulations Atty. Jennilyn Dawayan recognized that the turnover of the aquaponics to the schools is only fitting.

“Let us take this opportunity to encourage our students, who based on studies, are taking less agriculture and allied courses. I hope this is a chance for us to advance that cause, especially with efforts from the city government of Baguio, BFAR, Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Agriculture Training Institute (ATI), and DA-CAR,” Dawayan said.

Other beneficiaries of the solar-paneled aquaponics were fisherfolks from Baguio City, namely: BLGU Bayan Park, Margareta Joseph, Jane Abanag, Cherry Lindaoan, and David Dolawen.

One unit was also turned over to Mayor Magalong and to the City Veterinary and Agriculture Office (CVAO). In addition, 6 more units will be given to the province of Benguet; 2 units to Kalinga; 1 unit to Abra; and 1 to Mountain Province.

For more information, visit Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Cordillera Regional Field Office (BFAR-RFO).