Drifting lad found life in Aquaculture Innovation

Posted by: RAFIS DA6 | Posted at: July 5, 2024

The Young Farmers Challenge Program presented a life-changing opportunity that led to the remarkable transformation of 22-year-old Seth Luigi Borbon from Capiz. Through this program, he established ClawSeth Aquafarm, embarking on a new and promising journey in aquaculture. Seth and his two siblings are pursuing agricultural education at Capiz State University Pontevedra Campus. Considered the black sheep of the family, Seth often felt different due to his rebellious behavior and unconventional choices, which sometimes clashed with his family’s expectations and values.

Seth’s father played an instrumental role in shaping his life and values. From a young age, Seth worked alongside his father in their rice fields, learning the importance of hard work, dedication, and compassion. These early experiences under his father’s guidance instilled in Seth a deep appreciation for the land and a strong work ethic. His father’s example became a cornerstone of Seth’s aspirations, as he admired his father’s hardworking nature and compassionate approach. “Since childhood, I helped my father in our rice field and learned to labor myself to the ground early. It was a hard and knowledgeable experience for me, and I concluded that I want to be like him when I grow up,” Seth explains. After his father’s death, Seth’s journey became challenging. He dropped out of school. While the rest of his classmates were already taking their internship at the Research Division of the Department of Agriculture Western Visayas, Seth felt like life had no meaning and direction. He struggled with a lack of purpose; he ruminated anxiously, causing him distress.

One turning point was when he saw his mother taking all available jobs, including being a nanny to their relatives, to earn money to feed their family. It was like cold water being poured over his head, realizing what his father wished him to become, but he had just succumbed to depression after the latter’s death. Despite struggling to cope initially, he gathered the life lessons imparted to him and, with his family’s constant encouragement, triumphed over his fears and began rebuilding his life. Frightened about losing again, his brother pushed Seth out of his comfort zone, introduced him to new possibilities, and consistently supported and critiqued his choices. This support, coupled with the enigmatic workings of the universe, drove Seth to establish his enterprise, ClawSeth Aquafarm.


Determined to confront his fears and change his circumstances, Seth embraced a new beginning with the Department of Agriculture’s Young Farmers Challenge Program. In 2023, he presented himself and his valuable idea, creating a life-changing opportunity. Seth saw an opportunity amidst the challenges in the availability of fishponds for operation; there was a limited supply of ulang and crayfish in the province despite Capiz being the Seafood Capital of the Philippines. Undeniably, climatic conditions affected the water quality, leading to substantial production losses among aquafarmers. With a high appreciation for aquaculture, Seth shared his brilliant idea of solving these problems. He introduced indoor and backyard farming as an alternative to mud ponds, cultivating giant freshwater prawns (ulang) and freshwater lobsters (crayfish) as the source of brood stocks for freshwater crustaceans. He implemented a smart water quality monitoring system, which provides real-time data collection and analysis, reporting, alarm and notification systems, and remote access and control.

Seth developed collapsible and stackable pond areas using his creative mind and scientific knowledge. He cultured high-value freshwater crustaceans, which are low in fat and rich in protein, making them suitable for health-conscious consumers. He also created an application for real-time water quality monitoring, remote monitoring, and data analytics. His products include Australian Redclaw crayfish, which are harvestable in 4-6 months and sell for 1,500-2,500 pesos per kilo. The craylings are sold at 25 pesos each. Giant freshwater prawns (ulang) are also harvestable in 4-6 months, with a market price of 350-700 pesos per kilo. Red swamp crayfish are harvestable in 4-5 months, with a marketable price of 1,500-2,000 pesos per kilo. Seth started with an initial capital of 10,000 pesos for ponds, equipment, and broodstocks. His first profit in the first month was 4,000 pesos. He sells his product in three pieces (1 male, 2 females) for 550 pesos. Now, his monthly income is 5,000 pesos. He has been consistent for the last 12 months. The provincial agriculture office in Capiz connects him to various government agencies that can help him increase his production and further research and technologies.

“For a young lad like me, farming has become more than a job; it shall be a family tradition passed down through generations. Just like me and my dad,” Seth explains. The Young Farmers Challenge (YFC) program offered him opportunities to nurture this connection, deepen his understanding, and significantly contribute to this goal. As his journey alongside nature continued, the YFC program provided crucial support, showcasing his competence in agriculture and modern technology. Seth’s perseverance was rewarded when he won in the provincial, regional, and national pitching competitions of YFC. The Department of Agriculture has supported Seth’s endeavor with 530,000 pesos, excluding the institutional partnerships it has created for ClawSeth.

Personal growth is paramount, particularly in developing the ability to make sound decisions and accept responsibility. A standout feature of the YFC program is the sense of community it fosters. “Young farmers network with like-minded peers, share experiences, and learn from each other’s achievements and struggles, creating a strong support network to navigate the demanding world of agriculture,” Seth explains. The successful spawning and hatching of crayfish, the development of new and efficient farming methods, and the expansion of production to meet market demand are notable milestones for Clawseth, contributing to Capiz’s supply chain as the Seafood Capital of the Philippines. For Seth, continued efforts in research, technology adoption, market development, and capacity building are essential for these sectors to reach their full potential and significantly contribute to the country’s blue economy. The previously directionless and distressed young lad envisions his aquafarm employing cutting-edge technologies like AI-powered feeding systems, automated water management, and disease-resistant prawn strains. “Imagine data-driven decision-making optimizing every aspect of production, from breeding to harvest, maximizing yield and resource efficiency,” Seth explains enthusiastically.

ClawSeth Aquafarm is making its way towards a delicious and sustainable future. The key lies in a holistic approach that prioritizes environmental responsibility, technological innovation, and community engagement, ensuring a thriving future for this exciting aquaculture sector. “This journey requires both dedication and innovation,” Seth explains. As the rewards of succulent, responsibly cultivated crayfish and giant freshwater prawns are considered, the path ahead becomes clear: embracing sustainable practices, harnessing technological advancements, and forging strong community ties. The agribusiness of crayfish and giant freshwater prawn farming is indeed the future.###(MCMBuala/DA-RAFIS 6)