Pangasius fish gets major boost in Region 12
by Danilo E. Doguiles
Koronadal City (8 February) -- Fish industry in Region 12 and in Mindanao has gradually turned its attention on high-priced Pangasius fish.
Dorecita Delima, assistant director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 12, recently reported that some P100 million worth of investments have been poured into the culture of Pangasius (scientific name: Pangasius hypophthalmus) in Mindanao, particularly in Region 12.
Delima said, "The investment was generated from four hatchery ponds, two nursery ponds, three processing companies, and more than sixty grow-out farms."
Investments are concentrated mostly in Region 12 particularly in Midsayap and Pigcawayan in North Cotabato; Koronadal City, Polomolok, Tupi, Sto Nino, Banga, Lake Sebu, and Norala in South Cotabato; Senator Ninoy Aquino and Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat; General Santos City; and Alabel in Saranggani.
Delima further reported that the Pangasius industry in the region has generated 150 jobs and a domestic sales of P106,239,000 from farmers and processors since 2009 until January this year.
In her report, Delima noted of a fish processing/exporting corporation that ceased importation of pangasius fillet to favor local sources.
"RDex Food Corporation Inc., a fish exporter/processor based in General Santos City, is processing fillet, round steak, and value-added products such as buttered fish fingers and patties. Said company is ready to compete in the export market once supply is enough to warrant exports and price is competitive. It has stopped its importation of Pangasius fillet valued at P2.73 million," Delima said.
Delima added, two micro entrepreneurs, namely: Kimkyts Food Products and KM Food Products, also based in General Santos City, are now processing Pangasius into fish balls, shanghai rolls, nuggets, siomai, and patties.
To support the industry, DTI 12 has coordinated the distribution of 1,517,000 fingerlings of Pangasius to 60 farmer-growers in 2009. Initial harvest was done mid-year of 2009 while the rest are expected to be harvested by first quarter of 2010.
Sixteen techno-demo farms were established in 2009 to facilitate education of interested industry stakeholders and to disseminate the technology to farmer-growers. Additional 12 demo farms are expected to be set up around the region this year.
Delima also noted that Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines have opened financing plans for Pangasius-related investments.
Louie Medel, board member of the South Cotabato Association of Farmers Multi Purpose Cooperative based at General Santos City, was thankful for the support provided by DTI 12.
"The DTI crafted and initiated a plan for us in fingerling sourcing, culturing technology from BFAR and negotiated and implemented tripartite agreement with feed companies and market assurance for our techno demo ponds, Medel said.
Medel is also grateful for the inclusion of hito and pangasius forum in the yearly celebration of Yaman Gensan.
"The tremendous support we got from DTI boosts our morale to another level," he said.
Philippines exports around 600 metric tons of Pangasius fillet valued at US$1.65 million to Vietnam every month. Markets for this fish are also opening in Europe, US, and other countries in Asia.
Delima said, the local market can generate sufficient supply for international demands by 2012.
Pangasius is a fast-growing and sturdy fish related to catfish (hito). It is noted for its adaptability to waters with low levels of dissolved oxygen.
It can tolerate poor quality of water; it can thrive even in waters that are unfit for other fishes, which means that pangasius can be cultured in all sizes of habitat, from backyard and small to large scale, Delima explained. (PIA 12) [top]