Feature ‘For a peaceful community, we should raise a lot of fish’ PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 14:00

What started out as a high school hobby for this young man has become a thriving industry when he engaged in the koi breeding business. Having a father who was an agriculturist paved the way for his penchant for keeping fishes and his interest in them became more intense when he realized that he could gain much from it.

Raising ornamental fish, including Koi is the No. 2 hobby in the world, providing high profit, but second only to photography. In the ornamental fish business, anyone can make a six figure income, not even requiring a university degree to do it.

How it started?

Mr. Velly Marcial Naciongayo, 36, is a Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation (BSMT) graduate who hails from Sebucao, Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur. His inspiration comes from the love of his life, Ardilyn and their two kids, Dimple, 8 years old and Billgord,5.

“I started with only 6 breeders which I bought from Laguna in 1996. Koi being an ornamental fish cannot be eaten so I also raised tilapia in the same pond for our consumption,” he recounted.

Little by little, Velly started to develop his backyard pond to accommodate more koi and tilapia. One advantage he saw was that mosquitoes started to vanish in the place, where there used to be plenty since fishes eat mosquitoes.

“Farming helped me and my family so much. Life was quite hard at that time and we could not sustain our everyday needs. Food was scarce and I could barely provide a decent life for my family,” Velly tearfully recalled.

However, things changed a few years after. “In 3 months, we harvest the koi and we also have tilapia which I sell in my store at P120/kilo. Sometimes the harvest could reach up to 400 kilos, more than enough for our needs,” he said. Koi is sold at P10 a piece where a box containing 2,000 koi is sold at P20,000, while the big ones are priced at P1,000 each.

Winning the prestigious award

Little did he know that he would reach a milestone in his life when he joined the Search for the 2013 Most Outstanding Farmer in the Philippines organized by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Philippines together with the Department of Agriculture and the Universal Harvester Inc., which he handily won. He received his award on Nov. 15, 2013 at Makati Shangri-La.

“I am thankful to God for all these blessings, the sponsors, JCI Phils., DA and Universal Harvester Inc. for recognizing my efforts in koi farming, to Mayor Ace William E. Cerilles for giving much attention to agriculture and  municipal agriculturist, Mr. Ponciano Edano who always visits and monitors my progress, giving valuable advices,” Velly said.

LGU support

“There are 12 categories of the yearly award and this is the first time that Dumalinao bagged the title. This is once in a lifetime award. “To you Velly, you make every Dumalinaoan proud so carry on the good deeds and continue helping others,” said the young mayor.

“Basically an agricultural hub, our program in Dumalinao is geared on farming, applying the latest technology so that farmers will have maximum benefit,” the good mayor explained.

Future venture

Sebucao farmers are also beneficiaries of the DA and Nestle Philippines joint venture of 100 hectares coffee plantation launched last Nov. 25 through the efforts of Mayor Cerilles.

Velly is now promoting aquatic farming, having organized the Backyard Aquatic Gardeners Association (BAGA) with 20 members. Aside from its financial benefits, you will surely enjoy raising fish and derive health benefits, he says.

Health benefits

“Raising fish is therapeutic, like a healing balm. It takes away fatigue and problems giving you peace of mind. This is also one way to control mosquitoes,” he cited.

BAGA plans to embark on bigger activities and, at the same time, giving back life to depleted rivers by sowing fish fingerlings in them.

Very soon, a banana plantation project will also start to be integrated with coffee. With banana, coffee, and fish in town, we will soon be expecting an abundant harvest, bringing peace and prosperity to Dumalinao. As Velly said, “For a peaceful community, we should raise a lot of fish.” — PIA