LANAO DEL NORTE, March 14, 2022 – To ensure spot-on implementation of the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-BFAR-SAAD) projects, Director Myer Mula visited three fisherfolk cooperatives in Lanao del Norte on March 8.
Dir. Mula personally met with the officers and members of Lala Fishermen’s Cooperative (LAFICO) in Lala, Baroy Stakeholders and Fishermen Cooperative (BASFICO) in Baroy, and Simbuco Aquamarine Multipurpose Cooperative (SAMMPC) in Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte.
From 2019 to 2021, the three FCAs received a total Php 18,240,991.63 worth of fishery inputs under Milkfish in Pen and Cage Projects broken down as follows: LAFICO (Php 5,972,068.21), BASFICO (Php 5,972,068.21), and SAMMPC (Php 6,296,855.21)
The 330 members of the fisherfolk cooperatives sold their bangus within the community and outside the province like Iligan and Pagadian City.
In a span of three years, the cooperatives reported combined gross earnings of Php 23.3 million including the income earned from their lending services, food and fishing supplies stores, and other services engaged with the assistance provided by SAAD.
Dir. Mula expressed his gratitude to the fishers for their continued effort in sustaining the SAAD projects granted to them, and their initiative in optimizing the projects to augment the livelihood of the fishers in their area.
“We will continue to provide you with the assistance you need for as long as we can. What we expect is your cooperation and commitment to take care of the projects you deserved from SAAD and take full advantage of the projects to uplift your livelihood,” Dir. Mula said.
With the anticipated Phase 2 implementation of the program, Dir. Mula also met with Mayor Angel Yap of Lala, Mayor Rosa Olafsson of Baroy, and Mayor Lorenzo Manigos of Kolambugan, to set out plans for effective management of BFAR-SAAD projects in said towns.
Dir. Mula also discussed dynamics for the upscaling of BFAR-SAAD projects with Director Teodoro Bacolod, Jr., BFAR-10 Regional Director.
Close coordination with the LGUs and strengthened program management are among the focus areas identified to better the SAAD projects implementation.
“What we must ascertain is to implement our projects the best we can at our end,” Dir. Mula said, as a way to address bottlenecks in BFAR-SAAD projects in Northern Mindanao.
Lala Fishermen’s Cooperative
With 63 members, LAFICO became a beneficiary of BFAR-SAAD’s Milkfish in Pen Project from 2019 to 2021, with a substantial gross income of Php 8 million generated from two fish cropping (annual), beach resort operations, and a grocery store.
From their bangus production income, the group leased a beach resort with a seven-year contract for Php 150,000, including a small store within the vicinity on January 23, 2020.
From the training on bangus deboning and food processing provided by the program, the group was able to venture into value-adding products, to also impose zero postharvest loss.
LAFICO now owns a grocery store where they display their bottled bangus, bangus corn oil, and boneless bangus.
From their grocery business income, they engaged in catering services with the local government units (LGUs) in Lanao del Norte and BFAR during their events, meetings, and seminars as their main patrons.
Simbuco Aquamarine Multipurpose Cooperative
SAMMPC has 207 active members who took care of the BFAR-SAAD’s Milkfish in Pen and Cage and Seaweed Projects from 2019 to 2021.
Five months after receiving the bangus inputs, the cooperative started to earn from their fish harvest sold within their community and outside the province like in Iligan and Pagadian City.
For seaweed production, the group stopped cultivating in 2021 due to the occurrence of the ice-ice disease, brought by the changes in marine water salinity, light intensity, and ocean temperature. Also, it took them a long journey to source-out for seaweed propagules.
BFAR addressed this issue by providing the group with a Seaweed Laboratory and Inland Seaweed Nursery for 2022.
From 2019 to 2021, the cooperative had an accumulated gross income of Php 10.3 million.
Baroy Stakeholders and Fishermen Cooperative
The 60 members of BASFICO started to earn from their bangus, five months after receiving the inputs in 2019.
From their first two years’ income, they were able to rent out a space for their fishing supplies and paraphernalia store.
This 2022, the group acquired a land area worth Php 80,000 for the processing shed provided by the program. The structure will be used for storage and bangus product preparation. The cooperative reported a gross income of Php 5 million from bangus and store operations.
Further, they plan to build their own store beside the shed to cut off their rental expenses. ###
Azbie Talib, DA-10 Information Officer I
Jennifer Valcobero, SAAD NPMO Public Relation and Comms Officer