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Backyard integrated pig-fish culture in the Philippines

by Frank V. Fermin

Integrated pig-fish culture is not a new concept; it has been practiced for many years in many parts of Asia. Raising pigs and fish at the same time has several advantages:

Establishing the system

1. Pond construction

2. Location of the pig pen

There are two optional designs for locating the pig pen. It can be constructed on the dikes near the fishpond. Preferably, the floor should be made of concrete (or other impermeable material to catch pig manure and urine) and should slope toward the pond. A pipe is necessary to convey the manure and urine into the pond. An alternative design is to construct the pig pen over the pond. In this case, the floor can be made of bamboo slats spaced just enough to allow manure and urine to fall directly into the pond but not too wide for the feet of the pigs to slip into (thus, causing injuries). The pen should have a floor area of 1 m x 1.5 m for each pig.

3. Stocking

4. Pig feeding

5. Harvesting


Table 1. Suggested stocking rates

Monoculture: 100% tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) - 2 fish/mē, 3-5 g average weight

Polyculture 1:

   85% tilapia - 170 fingerlings, 3-5 g average weight
   13% common carp (Cyprinus carpio) - 26 fingerlings
   2% snakeheads (Channa striata) and catfish (Clarias batrachus) - 4 fingerlings,
      1-2 g average weight

Polyculture 2:

   50% Pangasius micronemus - 100 fingerlings, 10 g
   30% tilapia - 60 fingerlings, 3-5 g
   20% kissing gourami (Helostoma temmincki) - 40 fingerlings, 1-2 g average weight

Possible solutions to overcome some of the limitations

1. Raise crossbred/native pigs to reduce feed cost.

2. Occasionally, fish from ponds, which were overloaded with manure, can have a «muddy» or off-flavour taste which can be removed through the following measures:

Cost and return (in Philippine peso) of the backyard
integrated pig-fish culture for a 5-month period

Rate of return on investment = 1 369.90/780 x 100 = 176%
Notes: 1. For P100 invested, the farmer gets P176.00
2. Entire capital cost can be recovered in one production cycle and still retain a surplus
3. 1992: US$1 = P26

Issues for further consideration

Given the better acceptance and adoption rates of this technology in other countries in Asia, there seem to be specific constraints to this in the Philippines. Pigs are resource-intensive and need a concentrate-based diet for them to grow and produce quality wastes for fishpond fertilization. Experiments have shown that leucaena (ipil-ipil) leaves can be toxic to pigs at relatively low levels. Growing crossbred pigs and native pigs can be fed lower-quality feeds but this does not necessarily result in overall lower feed cost per unit of pig weight produced. Growth is poorer and even if feeds are not purchased, effort and other resources are needed in their use. Pig production is often affected by marketing risks and problems, which should be considered by new entrants.

The scraping out of pond mud for crop and vegetable fertilization is labour-intensive and also requires a drained pond, which is not possible in many locations where rural fishponds have been sited.

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