The innovative aquaculture industry is on sight in the Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon,Palawan) region as the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) continues implementing the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) which seeks to assist micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in adopting technological innovations to improve their products and operations.
The DOST-Mimaropa through SETUP has assisted local white shrimp grower WTL Enterprise, which is owned by former OFW and visionary entrepreneur Wilfredo T. De Lara and operates in Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro.
WTL Enterprise availed of DOST’s SETUP in 2019 to acquire appropriate technologies to boost the productivity of his pacific white shrimp farm after it was found that “shrimps grown in earthen ponds or ponds constructed in soils are highly vulnerable to diseases which lead to increased mortality.”
De Lara had converted his 10-hectare bangus farm to set up four earthen ponds for pacific white shrimp farming in 2017.
“Earthen ponds tend to have low pH, salinity, and temperature as well as low dissolved oxygen during unfavorable climatic conditions, and thus creating an unfriendly environment for the cultured shrimp,”Jesse Pine, director of the Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) in Oriental Mindoro, said in a statement issued by DOST-Mimaropa on Thursday, June 3.
Considering that stressed shrimps are also more likely to grow in smaller sizes, 30 percent of the WTL’s produce before the DOST’s intervention consisted of small-sized shrimps that affected its shrimp value, he said.
“The earthen ponds also put a constraint on WTL’s productivity limiting them to only two harvesting seasons since it required at least two months of preparation before restocking,” the DOST-Mimaropa noted.
Through SETUP, De Lara’s pacific white shrimp farm was given 30 sets of Paddle Wheel Aerator and 25, 480 square meters of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pond lining material.
“The technologies ensure an optimal oxygen supply, healthy water quality, and clean pond bottom for maximized shrimp growth, better survival rates, and resistance to diseases,” Pine said.
As aerators and plastic pond liners prevent soil-water interaction,issues of soil acidity, salinization, and uncontrolled seepage of water were addressed, the DOST-Mimaropa said.
“Pond cleaning and preparation also become more efficient, requiring only two weeks compared with the two-month normal earthen pond cleaning and drying process. This resulted in improved production efficiency through increased annual cycles and increased annual production volume of 40 percent,” it said.
It said with the DOST’s assistance, WTL’s harvested white shrimps were relatively bigger.
“WTL now has three production seasons annually and the technologies have helped to lower the percentage of harvested small-sized shrimps from 30 percent to 15 percent. Most importantly, the survival rate increased from 75 percent to 90 percent,” Pine said.
The DOST-Mimaropa said WTL Enterprise can address the province’s need for pacific white shrimp all year round. Currently, WTL’s shrimp farm is one of the main suppliers in Boracay and Malabon.
“DOST-MIMAROPA hopes that other micro, small, and medium enterprises will jump on the bandwagon in the aquaculture industry and become more daring to use innovative technologies to be more competitive in the local and global markets.”