Cotabato fish-crab farmer nominated in DA-12 search

February 27, 2012 12:05 pm 

COTABATO CITY, Feb. 27 — A fish farmer who operates a huge fishpond for special species like crabs, prawn, shrimps and milk fish has been nominated and will represent this city in the 2012 Search for Outstanding Fisherfolk-Fish Culture in Region 12 of the Department of Agriculture.

"It is once again a proud moment for Cotabato City as one of our fisher folks will compete in the regional contest of DA-12," Cotabato City Mayor Japal Guiani Jr. said in a statement.

Leopoldo Gaylan, Sr., a fish farmer who has successfully managed five hectares of fishpond with the combination of species like crabs, prawns, shrimps and milkfish in just one area, will represent Cotabato City and eyeing to win the competition to represent Central Mindanao in the national contest.

Gaylan, 63, resident of Purok Balas, Mother Barangay Kalanganan, is a second generation fish farmer. It has been his family’s main source of income since the 1970’s.

His father, Domingo Gaylan, was the caretaker of Santos Fishpond, the city’s major fish pond operator during that time.

But when the 1976 earthquake hit the city, it has destroyed all the fish ponds. The tenants then slowly revived their ponds.

In 1986, Gaylan, also known as "Nong Polding," has started crab culture without proper training and used only his acquired knowledge as a fish farmer.

Now he earns around half a million pesos during harvest time of the crabs, prawns and milkfish.

Interviewed by the City Agriculture officials and representatives from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources 12, Nong Polding said he rarely leaves the area and uses only traditional methods in crab culture.

He humbly admitted that his natural knowledge in aquaculture combined with innovations he learned from BFAR and DA helped him improve and enhance production, especially in crab fattening and fish pond management.

He added that his secret to distinctively tasty crabs is that he only feeds them with natural food—only the existing planktons in the ponds.

He does not give the crabs supplemental feeding and never use fertilizers as additional nutrients.

Since he wanted to share his "secrets" to other fisherfolks, Gaylan formed the Kalanganan Fishpond Owners and Workers Multi-Purpose Cooperative.

The cooperative which he chairs is now one of the most successful cooperatives in the city with 33 members and is operating for 13 years.

He also imparts his knowledge to his workers and coop members and cultivates the same virtue of hard work and discipline that he practices.

The search is a project of the Department of Agriculture to document and showcase aquaculture as a competitive enterprise in line of sustainable fisheries and development corollary to the fisheries program.

The search shall give due recognition to outstanding fish farmers as to sustain the fish farmer’s enthusiasm in the government’s developmental efforts in fisheries.

Optimistic as Gaylan is Mayor Guiani who said that should Gaylan wins, he will be the official candidate of Region 12 in the Annual Gawad-Saka of DA.

Region 12 is composed of the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Saranggani and the cities of Cotabato, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and General Santos.

It is an annual nationwide search for fish farmer who has demonstrated exemplary performance and has met the qualification standards set forth in its guidelines.

A P100,000 cash is at stake at the national level competition.

The city government has given its all out support to the nominee for he will not only bring honor to the city but will also help in promoting our main product, Cotabato Crabs, now known as the tastiest crabs in Mindanao.(PNA)

LDV/NYP/EOF

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