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Ifugao holds first yu-yu congress to conserve rice terraces

June 13, 2008 9:41pm

Tags: Ifugao
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines - Ifugao has hosted the First Yu-yu Congress, which is aimed at boosting food production in the province that is noted for its terraced agricultural lands.

“Yu-yu" is not the toy one twirls with a string, but the Ifugao word for the freshwater fish that locals raise in their rice terraces. Yu-yu is also a good source of protein and calcium for provincial residents.

Yu-yu, also known as “jojo" or “juju" in Ifugao, is a vermiform (worm-like) fish that scavenges on insects and organic detritus. They were said to have been introduced by the Japanese decades ago that's why they were called “panispis" or short for Japanese fish in some localities.

The First Ifugao Yu-Yu Congress at the Bahawit Nursery in the capital town of Lagawe was sponsored by the provincial government and the International Keeping Good Sannan, a Japanese non-governmental organization.

The first yu-yu congress aims to provide a yu-yu development plan not only for the Hungduan town, which has adopted yu-yu in its One Town, One Product project but for the whole province as well.

During the congress, provincial agriculturist Raymond Bahatan emphasized the importance of yu-yu in conserving the rice terraces. He called for the integration of yu-yu in the rice production cycle to help control insects and weeds as well as give protein and calcium supplement to farmers.

Rebecca Dang-awan, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources regional director, said that yu-yu is symbiotic with the traditional rice production cycle because the burrowing characteristics of the fish help in cultivating the soil and help in providing aeration to rice plant root system. This is advantageous for nutrient cycling, conserving soil fertility, and improved productivity. Dang-awan said that there is a 22 percent increase in rice production from the rice-yu-yu culture system and a return of investment of 97.9 percent.

With this, she said that BFAR was not surprised when the local government of Ifugao started to support the yu-yu production. BFAR has been intensively implementing aquaculture projects on yu-yu production and has even allotted P200,000 for the provincial yu-yu hatchery of Ifugao and another P200,000 for the municipal yu-yu hatchery of Hungduan. - GMANews.TV

Tags: Ifugao