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PIA Press Release

"Pangasius" investments reach P200 million yearly

Rosario, Agusan del Sur (February 11) -- "Pangasius" catfish, locally known as "hito", is now making big production and is fast becoming a big industry in Northeastern, Southern and Central Mindanao regions.

The Pangasius is recording investments breaching an estimated P200-million mark a year after its introduction in late 2007. The mass production is being noted in Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur in Northeastern Mindanao (Caraga region), in Compostela Valley province and Sarangani in Southern Mindanao (Region Xl) in North and South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao in Central Mindanao (Region 12).

Business group and individuals have already been promoting Pangasius hypopthalmus, also called "dory" or "sutchi fish" since late 2007 and their mass production was noted in the third quarter of 2008.

Originally, Pangasius thrives in Vietnam?s Mekong River.

There are now several hatchery ponds, nursery ponds, processing companies and fish ponds located at various areas in said provinces.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are now assisting these Pangasius business group or individuals in technology aspect and marketing.

"This new and progressing business is already making wave in the market," observed Northeastern Mindanao DTI regional director Brielgo Pagaran.

He added a businessman in Agusan has started engaging in the catfish business, including "tilapia" and has 80,000 fingerlings as starter.

Pangasius is already being sold in several eateries and restaurants of P120 to P150 per kilo, he added.

Data gathered from the DTI and BFAR of the three regions disclosed that the Philippines imports around 600 metric tons of Pangasius fillet valued at $ 1.65 million from Vietnam every month.

Markets for this fish are also opening in Europe, US and other countries in Asia.

The DTI and BFAR projected the local market can generate sufficient supply to enter the international market by 2012.

Aside from the rising income of business group, farmers and individuals, the DTI and BFAR also noted big employment to local folks. (muc/PIA-Caraga) [top]

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