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Mighty to help fish pond owners

Local cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corp. said it will donate tobacco dust, a fish pond conditioner that protects local ponds from predators, to help millions of Filipino fish pond owners and operators as well as tobacco farmers nationwide.

“We are going to help the National Tobacco Administration promote the use of tobacco dust by donating to our thousands of fish pond owners and operators all over the country,” Mighty Corp. executive vice president Oscar Barrientos said in a statement.

“In doing so, we are helping both tobacco farmers and fish pond owners and operators increase their yield,” he said, adding the company previously sold tobacco dust to fish pond owners and operators.

Barrientos said the NTA was promoting tobacco dust to control the population of snails and other fish pond predators, as this was “an effective and economic option to replace highly toxic and cyanide-based chemicals used in the preparation or sterilization of fishponds.”

He said the cigarette company aimed to increase the income of the tobacco-growing industry by buying 10 million tobacco leaves from local farmers all over the country.  It allotted P700,000 for the purchase of green leaves.

The NTA manufactures Tobacco Dust Plus at a plant in Sto. Tomas, La Union, where leaves are re-dried and pulverized.

The dust promotes the growth of lablab, an algae and natural fish food, and serves as pond floor conditioner. Pond owners and operators use it to prepare or sterilize fish ponds before stocking fingerlings there.

Fish stocking is the practice of raising fish in a hatchery and releasing them into a river, lake, or the ocean to supplement existing population, or to create a population where none exists.

Studies by a team from the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center in Tigbauan, Iloilo under Joebert Toledo had confirmed the tobacco dust efficacy.

Other studies headed by the government agency showed promising results from the use of tobacco dust as a substitute to chemical fish pond fertilizers.

Mighty aims to help local tobacco farmers earn more with a projected increase in the production of tobacco leaves and tobacco dust while helping pond owners and operators and the environment as well. Othel V. Campos

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