Samar mussel congress set
By Ninfa B. Quirante
Tacloban City (12 September) -- The Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) Samar Provincial Office in its effort to intensify the promotion of mussels to local and foreign markets and to address the problems of the mussel industry has proposed a Mussel Congress sometime next month.
The congress plans to assemble those directly and indirectly involved in the mussel industry to include small mussel farmers so that they can discuss ways to have a more focused and synchronized activities for the development of the mussel industry.
Another objective eyed by DTI and partners is to organize the Samar Provincial Mussel Industry Association.
In a talk with DTI Provincial Director Ruth Thelma Samonte, the lady executive told PIA that the mussel industry is one of the productive sub-sectors in the Samar fishing industry and provides an ample source of livelihood opportunities of Samar. It is also considered the second biggest mussel producer in the country next to Cavite.
With the big potential of this industry in generating income and employment in Samar, mussel industry was enrolled as the Provincial One-Town-One Product (OTOP) and eventually chosen as the regionís Model OTOP. This was intensified with the establishment of a processing plant in Jiabong, Samar, Samonte explained.
In the proposal submitted to DTI Regional Office 8, the rationale stated that the mussel industry is one of the productive sub-sectors in the fishing industry, currently contributing to the Philippine Fisheries production and estimated production volume of P220,000 MT at P800 M at a very conservative estimate. Fish and other marine products provide about 50%-75% of the protein requirements for Filipinos. The aqua culture sector contributed about 35% of the various fisheries products produced in the Philippines and the mussel industry contributed 1 to 2% of the total aqua culture production.
The mussel industry can provide ample source of livelihood opportunities for the people of Samar. Based on the latest industry figures, mussel culture provide a projected gross and income of about P14 M based on an annual projected mussel production capacity of nearly 4,700 MT. At present, there are about 320 households directly engaged in mussel farming in the municipalities of Jiabong, Villareal, Tarangnan, Catbalogan and Daram. The existing markets for fresh mussels are Manila, Cebu, Bicol, Davao, Cagayan de Oro and other parts of Mindanao, the proposal further stated.
Samuel Abayan, Chairman of the Coastal Fishermen Producers Cooperative in Brgy. Pangdan, Catbalogan who attended the pre-congress hoped that indeed most of their concerns specifically the freshness of their product tahong will be addressed in the Mussel Congress. (PIA-Samar) [top]