Going for gold in mariculture

By : Mindanao Today/06:56:41pm 08/19/2021


(Photo supplied)

THE town of Alicia in Zamboanga Sibugay province has a long coastline, with 20 out of its 27 barangays having access to the sea.

Seven hundred out of the 3,000 members of the Alicia Neighborhood Multi-Purpose Cooperative are into seaweed farming with the help of the coop.

ALNEMPCO has borrowed P12 million from the Land Bank of the Philippines to help members purchase equipment and planting materials.

Lately, the coop has tapped into a P15 million credit line (with easier terms) under the Department of Trade and Industry’s Covid Recovery Program.

In 2019, ALNEMPCO used its own capital to finance three members who ventured into fish production inside floating cages.

According to Chairman Cristituto “Cris” Batonghinog, raising fish in cages has turned out to be highly profitable.

He explained that a fish cage set-up (with eight growing compartments) can yield 2,000 adult “talakitok” weighing 600 grams each in 4 months.

At P250 to P500 per kilo (depending on variety), the fish cage entrepreneur can earn a gross income of P300,000 to P600,000.

Other marine products are even more lucrative. Red lapu-lapu (grouper) sells for P3,000 to P3,500 per kilo; while one-year-old red lobster is priced at P4,000 to P6,000 per kilo.

Coastal residents of Alicia usually gather the fingerlings from April to June.

“Talakitok” fingerlings are bought at P10 each, while lapu-lapu fingerlings fetch P30 apiece.

ALNEMPCO is expecting the release of an initial soft loan of P5 million from the Agricultural Credit Policy Council under the Department of Agriculture’s Kapital Access for Young Agripreneurs (KAYA) and Agri-Negosyo (ANYO) programs. The amount will fund the acquisition of additional fish cages (P300,000 each) stationary off-shore traps or bag nets for catching fingerlings (P100,000 each), drying facilities, and vending activities of qualified members.

For Cris, a Japan International Cooperation Agency scholarship grantee for a two-month course at the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center in Iloilo in 2000, mariculture or sea farming is a major means to achieve food security and provide sustainable livelihood for fisher folk and coastal communities.

(ALNEMPCO is affiliated to the Federation of Free Farmers and the Federation of Free Farmers Cooperatives.)

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