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Tobacco dust good for aquaculture

  • (By Marvyn N. Benaning)
    There is more to tobacco than cigars and cigarettes.

    National Tobacco Administration (NTA) Chief Edgardo D. Zaragoza yesterday said research undertaken by the agency showed that tobacco dust not only head lice but also decimates snails that inhabit fishponds and fish cages.

    As a molluscicide, Zaragoza said, tobacco dust acts swiftly to protect milkfish and its eggs from predatory snails and other creatures that exist in ponds and fish pens.

    Its efficacy has been proven by studies cinducted by a team from the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (Seafdec) in Tigbauan, Iloilo under Dr. Joebert D. Toledo, the NTA chief added.

    In Ilocos Sur, tobacco dust has been used as a pesticide in vegetable farms, with growers reporting better yields and substantial reductions in their production costs.

    To show that tobacco is really a boon for organic aquaculture, the NTA launched a program to promote the use of tobacco dust in Sto. Tomas, La Union on January 13, 2012

    Zaragoza led a "show and tell" activity on how tobacco dust can address the dregration of fishponds due to highly toxic chemicals at a demonstration farm established in the town.

    He unveiled Tobacco Dust Plus, a scientifically tested, stardandized, pure tobacco dust formulation developed as molluscicide to control snails and other predators in fishponds.

    Zaragoza added that tobacco dust can serve as a fertilizer to promote the growth of "lablab", natural fish food, and as a soil conditioner.

    "The product intends to replace the long-banned, highly toxic, cyanide-based, inorganic chemicals being used in the preparation or sterlization of fishponds before the stocking of fingerlings," Zaragoza said.

    "Tobacco dusti is organic, readily degradable, and environment-friendly. The absence of pesticide residues contributes to the marketability and exportability of local fish and ensures consumer safety, aside from being free from chemical residues," he added.

    Aside from Seafdec, the other institutions hat assessed tobacco dusr were the Iloilo Scholl of Fisheries in Iloilo, the Philippine Council for Aquaculture and Marine Resources Research and Development and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

    Field testing in fishponds in Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Pangasinan and Ilocos Sur confirmed the validity of the scientific studies.

    The studies showed that by following recommended production technologies demonstrated in the farm, there was a marked decrease in the mortality rate of fingerlings from 20 percent to only 5 percent, resulting in about P20,000 savings on production cost oer hectare per grow-out cycle.
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