|Economics of the Philippine Milkfish Resource System (UNU, 1982, 66 pages)|
|III. The transformation sub-system: cultivation to market size in fishponds|
There are two major tenurial systems for milkfish ponds: private ownership and government lease. Farm ownership is predominantly private among intensively operated farms; just over 70 per cent own their farms. A large segment of the government leased ponds is not operational yet. There are also those whose applications for government lands have not been approved. In fact, these applicants for government lands constitute a large number of milkfish farmers listed as being in production. Because of this, the reported total pond area under production (176,000 ha) may be an over-estimate. At the same time, there are also those whose ponds are already in production but because of the fear of land reform similar to paddy land reform, the owners are not revealing the real size of their farms.
Prior to 1980, government ponds were covered by two types of lease: Fishpond Lease Agreement (FLA) which is for a period of ten years, and Ordinary Fishpond Permit (OFP) which is good for one year, both of which were renewable. However, after 1980, both the FLA and OFP were consolidated into a single scheme of government leased ponds with leases valid for 25 years and renewable.
The nature of the lease arrangement, whether it is for private or government land, short- or long-term, renewable or non-renewable, affects the lessee's decision on the utilization of inputs. If it is short term and non-renewable, lessee operators seldom would invest in inputs whose expected benefits span a longer period. Under such circumstances they expect the owners to pay for the inputs unless an arrangement has been made for equitable sharing of benefits between owner and lessee. Milkfish producers agree that privately owned milkfish ponds are better developed and have higher yields than leased ponds.
Because the 324 milkfish farms chosen for the survey purposely excluded those that used no inputs, the results are indicative of the extent of input use between private and government-leased farms. Inputs are more widely used on private farms than on government-leased farms. More privately owned farms are found in the three leading milkfish production centres of lloilo, Bulacan, and Pangasinan than in provinces with lower average production per hectare (table 10). Occasional uncertainty surrounding the legitimate lessees of government-leased land can also contribute to the reluctance of lessees to use inputs. It is reported that a piece of government land can have more than one applicant because application papers may have beer filed with either the same government bureau in different localities or with different government agencies. Because of the uncertainty regarding the legitimate lessees of the land, farmers are understandably reluctant to incur expenses for production purposes. Additionally, the inability of many farmers to show the proper papers and documentation to support their tenure on government lands has also led to low participation rates in government credit programmes.