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PIA Press Release

Gov't to push propagation of Pangasius

by Prix D Banzon

Davao City (27 November) -- The "Love Fish" or Pangasius will be pushed by government as another aqua product because of its high demand in the international market.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR XI) Director Malcom Sarmiento in an interview during the Mindanao Investment Conference (Min iCon) at Marco Polo Davao said they will push for the propagation of the specie and is eyeing at 2010 when the supply would come leaps and bound.

Malcom was in Davao City for the official launching of Pangasius in Mindanao that was held during the Mindanao Investment Conference at Marco Polo Davao.

He said the fish was introduced in Pampanga last year and now has reached Mindanao even as he said that they encountered difficulties getting the breeder.

"With Vitarich Corporation breeding it as well as promoting and selling it we expect Pangasius to penetrate other areas for production," he said.

He said the country still would not get a good production next year but in 2010. And it would become as dominant as the tilapia.

The price of the fingerling is quite high this time but later on this would go down with the increasing number of breeders, he said. Pangasius fingerlings cost much at P7 to P8 per piece.

Mindanao Business Council chair Vicente Lao meanwhile said that they do not want the industry to come head on with Vietnam as the original source of Pangasius being named as "Cream Dory" that is why the Mindanao fish will be marketed as the "Love Fish" from the root word "Panga" of Pangasius meaning love.

He said they do not want to be associated with the Vietnam fish and it has to come as distinct and with good quality.

He said the fish main market will be the US and Europe although there is local demand in high-end restaurant and hotels.

"What we are targeting is the Muslim areas in Mindanao because when they busy and successful in propagating these fishes they will not be thinking of other things but in maintaining peace in the area: he said.

"There are a lot of big fresh bodies of water in the island and all we need to do is tap these areas for the growing of Pangasius" he added.

He said the fish has to be processed as fellet and production area must be prepared and the supply chain be developed.

He said the private sector need to come in prepared for this and in areas where the needed facilities would not be available, they would not hesitate to ask the government to come in and assist in the provision of infrastructure.

He said that in marketing the products for Mindanao, it is no longer by individual but through networking.

Meanwhile, Eduardo S. Lazo, business development manager of Vitarich Corporation said in six months time some 1.2 kilos of fish could already be harvested and farm gate price is at P40 and market price at P70.

He said the farmer gets 100 percent return of investment. It would need 10 to 15 pieces per square meter or 150,000 pieces to a hectare.

Lazo said right now their company has only 16 growers in the country and they want to expand their area especially in Mindanao and have about one million fingerlings for contract growing.

He said by January 2009 they aim to produce 230,000 fingerlings which will be their target each month next year.

Lazo said Pangasius or Cream Dory carries a one million metric ton production in Vietnam this year and as of July 2008 they already delivered some 600,000 metric tons.

He said in 2009 they target some US$1B for this production.

There are already interested investors in Mindanao some of them in Tagum City and General Santos City. (PIA) [top]

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