Fisherwomen group undertakes tilapia processing and marketing
by Dan B. Codamon
ALFONSO LISTA, Ifugao (29 September) -- The fisherwomen group of Sitio Nagtipunan Barangay Sto. Domingo here ventured in the processing and marketing of their fish product that will directly help them realize additional income, create employment opportunity with the added benefit of enhancing unity among them.
According to Isabelita Codamon, Filed Officer of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) here who gave assistance to the group, the Nagtipunan Fisher Folk Women Association (NFWA) was organized in 2005 with the assistance of the municipal government through several consultations and workshops.
Most of the members are tilapia fish raisers through cages along the banks of the Magat Dam while others are retailers who buy and sell from the producers.
One of the problems brought out in a meeting was the decreasing profit by the raisers due to the increase in production inputs and the strong competition among many tilapia raisers not only from the members but from other fishpond owners in adjacent towns.
This is much felt during the peak harvest in the months of February to July when fish cage owners are forced to harvest due to the lowering water level of the dam.
In order to help solve the problem, the fisherwomen group founding members were trained on "tilapia processing and preservation and the skills they acquired include making boneless and smoked tilapia.
This enabled them to prolong and improve the marketability of their product hence, they will not fall prey on the usual cycle of selling their fresh harvested fish at very low prices during peak harvest for fear of damages or loss.
In August 2006, the group conducted another consultation meeting with the members and officers to assess the need for the sustainability of their project and realized that they need to procure necessary processing facilities and utilities for the storage of their fish stocks especially during the peak months of harvesting fish.
Since they have very small working capital, they decided to network and access funds for the procurement of the fish processing facilities and utilities.
With the P100,000 grant from DOLE, the facilities were procured and production has started initially on a limited scale for marinated, boneless, smoked and fillet tilapia.
As the group became more skilled and familiar in handling the facilities and utilities, they are now producing on a weekly basis of at least 500 packs of smoked tilapia, 130 kilos of boneless tilapia for a projected weekly sales amounting to P92,000.
These products are sold within and outside the municipality through private traders and stores while direct retailing is done in the stalls center in Nagtipunan.
Promotion and advertisements for the fish products of the women fisher folk are done through their participation in Municipal and Provincial Trade Fairs.
The project directly benefits 23 women fisher folk and indirectly 83 tilapia farmers. It also employs five members who will operate and manage the daily activities. (PIA Ifugao) [top]