P29-M fishport, cold storage to rise in Maimbung, Sulu

A MODERN integrated fishport and cold storage complex, worth P29.2 million, will soon rise in Maimbung, Sulu, funded by the Department of Agriculture through the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA), in partnership with the provincial government of Sulu and municipal government of Maimbung.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala led the facility’s groundbreaking ceremony February 24, 2011, at Maimbung pier, along with Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan and his son Maimbung Mayor Samier Tan, newly-appointed PFDA general manager Rodolfo Paz, and director Malcolm Sarmiento of the DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

The fishport and cold storage complex, slated to be completed in December 2011, is capable of handling  10 tons of fish daily, said PFDA general manager Paz.

Sec. Alcala said the facility will subsequently transform Maimbung into a major fish trading center in Western Mindanao, providing small fisherfolk and their families sustained source of income and livelihood. It will also spur the economic development of Maimbung and Sulu archipelago, one of the richest fishing grounds in the country.

To complement the fish catch from the wild, the DA-BFAR will establish mariculture parks (MPs) in appropriate coves and bays in the archipelago. The MPs will contain fish cages that will be rented to small fisherfolk via ‘rent-to-own’ scheme.

Sec. Alcala said the facility is part of President Aquino’s commitment to uplift the livelihood of small fisherfolk in far-flung communities, yet rich in natural and marine resources like Maimbung.

“Ito po ay isa lamang sa mga proyekto ni Pangulong Aquino upang makinabang ang maliliit na mangingisda at iba pa nating mga kababayan — at manumbalik ang kanilang tiwala sa pamahalaan,” (This is one of the many projects of President Aquino for the benefit of small fishermen and ruralfolk, and hence win back their trust on government), said Sec. Alcala.

For his part, Gov. Tan said the DA-BFAR mariculture parks will also complement the provincial government’s existing marine fishery projects in tandem with fishermen’s cooperatives that raise prawns, oysters, and seaweeds.

In addition to the fishport and cold storage complex, and mariculture parks, Sec. Alcala said the DA-BFAR will also set up a seaweed tissue culture laboratory in Sulu to provide sustainable and continuous source of quality, healthy seaweed propagules or plantlets, along with drying and semi-processing facilities to produce seaweed chips and powder.

This twin initiative will further enhance the seaweed industry in Sulu, the DA chief said.

He added that fishfarmers should use tissue-cultured or new seaweed propagules every three croppings to avoid diseases such as ‘ice-ice.’

During the forum, Sec. Alcala also distributed various farm inputs and equipment to farmers’ and fishers’ groups that included five units of  cassava grater and pressser. He committed to provide 45 units more through the DA Region 9 office under Dir. Oscar Parawan.

He also distributed four shallow tube wells with pump and engine sets, 50 bags of IPB variety 6 white corn seeds, and more than 100 kilograms of assorted vegetable seeds.

He committed to provide monthly stipends to 20 students who currently pursue agriculture and fishery courses in Sulu, and complement the scholarship program sponsored by Governor Tan.

While in Maimbung, Sec. Alcala also visited the vegetable production project of the 3rd Marine Brigade, under the command of Col. Remigio Valdez.


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