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Who Is Ramon Macaraig?
• 64 years old, born October 29, 1952
• Married to attorney Milagros de Jesus Macaraig
• Three children: Enrico Rafael, 33; Lea Cristina, 30; Ana Maria
• Mailing address: 63 Piña St. Bajada, Davao City, Philippines
• Works at Alsons Aquaculture Corporation at its base office in Alabel,
• Home telephone: 082-2273919
• Mobile phone: 0917-7011993
• Email address: email@example.com
• Office fax: 083-5082304
Ramon Macaraig is Vice President for Technical Services at the Agribusiness Unit of Alcantara Group in the Philippines. He has been working on improving agricultural production systems for the group since 1977, after graduating with a Masters Degree in Chemistry from the Ateneo de Manila University. His involvement in aquaculture started with the Alcantara’s joint venture with Dole Philippines, Inc., to produce black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) at a 200-hectare farm on Mindanao Island in 1987. While the venture with Dole was unsuccessful due to market factors, the Agribusiness Unit pursued aquaculture with milkfish as the main crop.
The Alcantara Group, through its Alsons Aquaculture Corporation subsidiary, now farms shrimp (P. vannamei) in polyculture with milkfish and runs two, pilot, shrimp-monoculture projects, hoping to produce 15 to 18 metric tons of shrimp per hectare in 150 days. One project allows water from intensive tilapia culture to overflow into a shrimp monoculture pond with 15 to 20 parts per thousand salinity. The other project is a biofloc system with full-strength seawater, which uses molasses and bacteria to handle ammonia and lime to control alkalinity.
In addition, Alcantara farms bananas, citrus, corn, mangoes, greenhouse vegetables, beef cattle and commercial hogs. Ramon’s main involvement is with the nutrition and disease management programs for these crops, especially the bananas. The company continues to employ consultants that help manage the very deadly Panama Disease (PD) in bananas and has been working on an approach to introduce PD-resistant clones to its banana farm, which now covers some 300 hectares.
Alcantara, through Alsons Aquaculture Corporation, developed intensive milkfish growout producing 15 metric tons of milkfish per hectare at the monodon farm it later bought back from Dole. It added a processing component to debone the fish and process smoked, marinated and cooked fish products. It then expanded its marketing effort to reach Filipinos in the Americas, the Middle East, Europe and Asia. It continued to farm black tiger shrimp until 2007 when the government permitted the import of vannamei.
Alcantara also developed Finfish Hatcheries, Inc., which produces some 700 million fry annually, including about 28% of the Philippine milkfish fry requirement. It has expanded fry production into green grouper, Asian seabass, tilapia, rabbit fish, high-fin pompano and mangrove jack snapper, all of which are in demand in pond and sea-cage aquaculture.
Alcantara continues to produce algae, rotifers, copepods and daphnia to feed fry, and it uses beneficial bacteria in disease management and wastewater treatment. Its research focuses on developing technologies for the production of various, lower-trophic-level species like heterotrophic bacteria, algae, clams, abalone, sea cucumber, sea urchin, mud crab and herbivorous fish that may be commercially viable and essential components of bio-diverse, multi-trophic aquaculture production systems in freshwater, brackishwater and marine ecosystems. It is also improving various hydroponic formulations for greenhouse crops and adapting hydroponic principles into the new science of aquaponics (combining fish production in recirculating systems with vegetable production) and algae culture.
Source: Email to Shrimp News International from Ramon Macaraig on January 24, 2017.
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