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PIA Press Release

Zumarraga OTOP now operational

by Ninfa B Quirante

Catbalogan City (February 12) -- After the successful mussel culture in Jiabong, Samar which ballooned into a multi-million industry, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Samar will embark on rock oyster (sisi)culture in Zumarraga.

In a press release, by Mrs. Ruthelma S. Samonte, Provincial OTOP Coordinator of DTI Samar, it said that a convergence strategy has been employed to effect the project known as Rock Oyster Culture and Processing Development Project.

The converging entities include LGU of Zummaraga through the leadership of Mayor Edwin Neil Figueroa, Research Dept. of Dr. Felisa Gumba and College of Fisheries and Marine Sciences (COFMAS) of Dr. Abdurahman Latip under Pres. Simeon Babalcon,Jr. of the Samar State University (SSU), DTI of Dr. Asisclo T. Beleņa and DOLE of Mrs. Fe Estrella.

The Zumarraga Sisi Producers Association (ZUSI), its project proponent chaired by Mrs. Gavina Doblon will have three (3) components : rock oyster culture, improved sisi processing and market development.

It is said to directly benefit about one hundred eighty six (186) surveyed sisi gatherers and thirty (30) sisi traders not to mention the numerous other opportunities that will be generated to the Zumarraganhons.

The rock oyster culture component output is the installation of about twenty (20) hanging raft oyster culture modules in strategically located barangays in each of the four (4) clusters of Zumarraga.

To ensure a steady and year round supply of sisi as a raw material once the Zumarraga Production Center will be operational this year, an improved technology introduced by Prof. Renato Diocton, Prof. Raul Cilmar and Prof. Danilo Mabonga assisted by the LGUs counterpart MAO Alex Bitbit and Mrs. Joy Cebu, AT is expected to produce 63 sacks of rock oyster per module which not only productive but also environmentally friendly.

The second component is the standardization of sisi processing. As introduced by Mrs. Nora Doncillo, Fish Processing instructor all sisi processors shall comply with the food regulatory requirements of Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD).

The third component is the improvement of the packaging of sisi to increase its marketability and competitiveness once the product will be promoted in trade fairs, supermarkets and institutional buyers.

To ensure the viability of the project, DTI prepared a Project Proposal and Business Plan submission of which to DOLE was facilitated by the PESO Manager and DSWDO of Zumarraga, Mrs. Evelyn S. Hernando and approved for funding by DOLE Samar under the PRESEED in the amount of P 633,440.

The project started late last year with the simultaneous conduct of the Rock Oyster Culture and Processing Training from October 8-10, 2008 in Zumarraga and the follow up training on Skills Upgrading on Rock Oyster Stock Density Enhancement in Brgy. Arteche, Zumarraga on January 26-27 and Fermented Rock Oyster Processing Upgrading Training on January 27, 2009 in Zumarraga with a total of twenty five (25) and fifty eight (58) respectively.

On the other hand, product development activities to upgrade the quality of sisi include the product testing of sample products in the laboratories of Iloilo facilitated by SSU Mercedes Campus and the development of improve packaging design by the Product Research and Development Center (PRDCP-DOST) Head Office for the appropriate packaging of sisi.

Moreover, as preparatory activities for the product's exposure in local, regional and national trade fairs and other marketing activities of DTI, a marketing plan was prepared and presented to the ZUSI officers and members. (PIA-Samar with report from DTI) [top]

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