Feature: Lobster culture for better future
By Fretcher D. Magatao
The island of Siargao in the province of Surigao del Norte has been known as attractive place for tourists. Its gorgeous white beaches, enchanting lagoons, caves, sand bars, coral reefs, bizarre rock formations, exotic wildlife, different crops and rice fields, waterfalls and a large mangrove forest reserve create a longing to every adventurist.
Not known to many, Siargao is also a home of great farmers and fishers. Aside from earning through the visits of the local and foreign tourists, residents also rely heavily on agriculture and fisheries as their source of income.
One of the towns frequently visited by tourists is the municipality of Del Carmen. Hidden in its area is the longest contiguous mangrove stand in the Philippines, spreading to over 4,000 hectares. The local government unit headed by Mayor Alfredo Coro II, in partnership with government agencies and private sectors, has gradually converted the small municipality to an “eco-town” to help the residents cope with financial challenges and the effects of climate change.
“Del Carmen is greatly challenged among other municipalities. The only way to move up is through partnership-driven programs. We may be a fifth-class municipality but we act like first-class citizens,” Coro said during an environmental and climate change workshop.
Faced with trials, the local government endeavored to coordinate with government and non-government organizations to educate and equip its residents on livelihood activities to suffice their needs.
Earning support from the government
The municipality is rich with natural resources that are ready to be utilized. Such is its much supply of spiny lobsters which can be found anywhere in its tropical waters.
Since there are available juvenile lobsters and most of the fishers can make a catch when they cast their nets for fishing, the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) of the locality thought of teaching them about lobster fattening using nets for cage culture. “We thought of starting a lobster fattening project after seeing its benefit as additional source of income for the fishers,” said Vicente Comandante, Municipal Agriculturist of Del Carmen.
The knowledge gained by the fishers made them decide to start an association named Del Carmen Fisherfolk Association (DELCAFIA) in 2011 with 54 members. Its main line of business is lobster fattening and selling its produce onspecial occasions or when the demand is high.
Starting from six cages, the business grew and its produce has been sold and known in the island and Surigao City. Then on, the association added more juvenile lobsters for fattening to meet the demand of the market. “Since there is a great demand during Christmas and New Year, especially Chinese New Year, all of our harvest will be sold out,” said Domingo Cortes, Chairman of DELCAFIA.
An average sales of P60,000 to P80,000 is recorded per harvest during the early years of its operation from 2011 to 2013 with the usual harvest of twice a year depending on the demand of the consumers.
Considering the need for expansion, the association searched for opportunities which they can access fund for additional cages, staff house, boat and capital for the purchase of juvenile lobsters and its food.
Through the effort of the association and the support of MAO, DELCAFIA has accessed fund amounting to P250,000 through the DA–Mindanao Rural Development Program–Community Fund for Agricultural Development (MRDP-CFAD) in 2013.
The support from MRDP has allowed the association an additional staff house, eight cages, motorized boat and additional working capital. These translated to a better business such as an additional 200 juveniles and a boat for the transportation of their lobsters to the buyers or the market.
“This year’s Chinese New Year has allowed us to earn P150,000 for one harvest, equivalent to lobsters weighing to a total of 60 kilos with a selling price of P 2,500/kg. We got better harvest and earning through the intervention from the government,” said Cortes.
Better profit from every harvest has inspired the members of DELCAFIA. “Since the business has expanded and been making better sales, the members of the association have been contributing wasted fish for the lobster’s food in order to hasten its growth,” said Arlon Donoso, Vice Chairman of the association.
MRDP is a program implemented under the Department of Agriculture jointly funded by the World Bank and the local government units. The successful implementation of the projects in Mindanao inspired the government to level up its scope through the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP) today.
PRDP as the upscale version of MRDP introduces innovations to address current and emerging challenges and make rural development more effective. It is a six-year national government platform for an inclusive, value chain-oriented and climate resilient agriculture and fisheries sector. (DA-13/PIA-Caraga)
SurSur joins “Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s month” celebration
By Greg Tataro Jr.
TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, May 4 (PIA) – Both the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAg) and the Provincial Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Office (PFARO), this province, have joined in this year’s celebration of “Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s month this May.
Chief provincial agriculturist Marcos Quico and chief provincial fishery officer Luisito Yu said that they had lined-up month-long activities to observe the special occasion.
On the part of OPAg, Quico bragged that farmers had always been given due recognition especially during this time of the year.
Yu, for his part, also told media in a separate interview about important events that had been taken part or yet to be undertaken by their office, citing Motorcade/Opening Program and Installation of Fisherfolk Director at Tavern Hotel in Surigao City on May 2; Tilapia Fingerlings Dispersal in the Communal Water and Fishpond area at Gamut, Tago on May 5; Orientation on R.A. 10654 at Balanghai Hotel in Butuan City on May 12; Fish Processing Demo at Burgos, Cortes on May 19-20; and Culmination Program in Surigao City on May 31.
With the theme “Mangingisdang Director para sa Mas Matatag na Balikatan,” the PFAR chief bared that fishing industry here had remained sustainable and profitable for the marginal fisherfolk.
Since the start of the year, a total of 77,750 pieces of tilapia fry/fingerlings had been produced, 42,250 pieces of which had been distributed by their office.
Meanwhile, Quico once again admitted that rice yield in the province had been hit by mild El Niño last year and later affected by brown plant hopper (BPH) early this year.
Nevertheless, he assured that government had laid down mitigating measures to cushion the impact of both. (Radyo ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)
SurSur COMELEC assures readiness on May 9 polls
By Greg Tataro Jr.
TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, May 4 (PIA) – The Commission on Elections (COMELEC), this province, has assured the public they will be all set come May 9, 2016 polls.
Atty. Raquel Limbaco, provincial election supervisor (PES), said that everything would be ready until complete delivery of all vote counting machines (VCM), ballots, and ballot boxes to their respective destinations, adding that it would just be a matter of time.
She likewise indicated that the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of Education, and all other stakeholders were all geared up to carry out their respective roles for the same elections.
Meanwhile, Atty. Limbaco advised state workers “not to engage in any partisan political activities,” citing the Omnibus Election Code (OEC), Civil Service Commission, and other related statutes in this regard.
On apprehensions that official vote receipts could be seen or known by others, the provincial polls chief clarified that nobody but only the voters themselves could take a look at the contents of such, also saying that “taking home the receipt is an election offense.”
Likewise, she reminded the public that poll precincts would start to serve at 6:00 a.m. and close at 5:00 p.m.
Moreover, Atty. Limbaco said that an “express lane” would be provided for those who had to be given priority to cast their votes like members of the press, election workers, and others holding similar tasks. (Radyo ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)