A Growing Catfish (Hito) Business - Best in Davao Region

On a fine afternoon, while navigating through the roads of Davao-Bukidnon, especially through Los Amigos, Tugbok District in Davao City, one can really notice various hito or catfishes diner along the roadway. Los Amigos is normally referred to for this industry as they have begun with the developing and the dealing with catfish(hito) during the 90s.

A lot of customers are mostly residents of the city of Bukidnon-Davao who stop alongside the road just to satisfy their cravings, students from the universities nearby and some are downtown residents. 

But even before the restaurants that serve various catfish delicacies have been established and known, catfish(hito) farmers and growers first made good income in the catfish business. One of the well-known catfish farmers and growers in the city of Davao is Dr. My Lady Rose F. Domingo, the operator, and grower of Tres Hermanos Hatchery in Los Amigos which is the catfish capital in Davao city.

Tres Hermanos Hatchery is one of the largest catfish farmers/growers in the city of Davao with its one-hectare hito farm. This farm started its catfish business way back in 1999 with only 60 farmers from the different provinces in Davao Region. The first big-time customer that the Tres Hermanos Hatchery supplied was Marko whom they supplied 500 kilos of catfish a day and gradually increased to a thousand kilo overtime. Catfish of Los Amigos became well known and reached the nearby cities of Cagayan de Oro and Cebu through Marko.

After 19 years in the catfish business, Tres Hermanos already reached other areas in the province of Mindanao which includes Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Cotabato, Bukidnon, Agusan, and Butuan. As of recent years, Tres Hermanos hatchery expanded their catfish(hito) farmers and growers to a total of 210 which each of them harvest a ton of catfish per day.

Currently, there are only 3 well-known species of catfish here in the Philippines including the native (Clarias Macrocephalus), Taiwan (Thai catfish, C. batrachus), and the African (C. gariepinus). According to the data shown by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) of the Davao region, the native variety of catfish here in our country has found liking in the tastebuds of Filipinos because of its unnatural taste and soft meat. However, due to its rarity, this species of catfish was prohibited to cultivate and farmed in our country.

In response to this, the African variety of hito(catfish) was widely introduced to the public. These species of catfish were the ones being farmed and taken care of, sold in the market, restaurants, and eateries ranging from small to big alongside the roadway. African variety of catfish grows 15 times bigger yet produces 4 times smaller eggs in comparison to its native counterpart. On the other side the Taiwan variety of catfish were least liked due to its non soft meat in comparison to the other species of hito. Catfish (hito) follows 4 phases of growing and must be provided under the right type of environmental condition and food for each type. At the first 10 days of the catfish, 500 grams of fry mash must be given per day which will be divided into four parts and will be given to the into 4 separate times in a day. 

On the 11th to 40th day of the catfish(hito) floater pellet with the increased measurement as they grow older will be given to them. Between this period, especially at the 21st day period onwards supplemental can also be given to them.

Usually supplemental feeds are composed between cooked animal innards, earthworms, small snails and trash fish.

During the 41st till 100th day of the catfish, grower pellets with the increasing measurement as they grow will be given to them to greatly boost their size. Measurements must be accurate to give better results. On the 101st to the 120th day, finisher feeds will be given to the hito. This is the total culture period of hito which is four months. 

The estimated cost for every 1000 catfish in a pond is around 10,600 plus pesos. It includes the fingerlings, foods, and other inputs. According to research the average survival rate of a catfish is around 60% but can be increased if put into the right conditions. After the 4 months of growing, 600 catfish were raised healthy, and a kilo usually around 4 catfish total.