|Economics of the Philippine Milkfish Resource System (UNU, 1982, 66 pages)|
The dual purpose of this paper is to synthesize available information on the milkfish (Chanos chinos) resource system of the Philippines and to evaluate its economic efficiency. Improvements in efficiency of food resource systems are important because, by reducing the average cost of production and distribution, increases in consumer prices of food items such as milkfish can be minimized.
Why analyse the milkfish resource system, rather than that of another species? Culture of milkfish is extensive in the Philippines, Taiwan, and Indonesia (table 1). In these three countries, 365,000 ha of brackish-water ponds and 7,000 ha of fishpens produce approximately 230,000 tonnes of milkfish annually. In fact, in the Philippines, milkfish from ponds and pens represents approximately 10 per cent of total fisheries production' and 18 per cent of the total fresh and frozen fish consumed.2 Other countries in the Indo-Pacific region, where milkfish is not yet a popular food fish, are also introducing milkfish husbandry to their people. Milkfish has become one of the major cultured species in the Indo-Pacific region.
Beyond its importance, the Philippine milkfish resource system is of interest because it is alleged to be inefficient in numerous ways. Fry mortalities during catching and transport are alleged to be high. Extensively operated fishfarms that use no supplementary inputs, because their productivity per hectare is much lower than intensively operated fishfarms, are alleged to be inefficient. Even the intensively operated farms are reportedly inefficient. Annual fry catch is believed to be inadequate to meet annual fishpond and fishpen stocking requirements. Finally, the marketing activities of middlemen are thought to result in excessively high price mark-ups, both between fry grounds and fishponds and between fishponds and consumers.
These and other questions will be addressed in this paper. Not all allegations of inefficiency can be definitively resolved with available data, but at the least this paper will provide the first consolidated economic analysis of the entire Philippine milkfish resource system from fry gathering to consumer.
TABLE 1.Milkfish Production in the Philippines, Taiwan, and Indonesia
|Production area (ha)||Production (tonnes)||Productivity per ha (kg) (all species)||Milkfish as percentage of total production||Estimated milkfish production (tonnes)|
|- Brackish-water ponds||176,231||115,756||657||90a||104,180|
|- Freshwater pens||7,000||47,000||6,714||100||47,000|
|- Brackish and freshwater ponds||16,802||44,652||2,658||75||33,490|
|- Brackish-water ponds||171,544||87,995||513||55||48,400|
Sources: See note 3.
a. Authors' estimate.