AGUSAN DEL NORTE, Oct. 28 (PIA) -- “Dako ang amo kalipay niini nga proyekto labi na ug makuha namo ang target nga 6 tons niining una nga harvest (We are so thankful of this project especially if we can reach the 6 tons target in our first harvest),” San Agustin Fisherfolk Association, Inc. (SAFAI) Chairman Peter Felicilda said in anticipation during their first bangus harvest.
Living along the shorelines of Carmen, fishers used to catch only a handful of “tamban” and squid during its peak season which they have to sell around the neighborhood. Meager income is just enough for a day’s meal. Sending children to school is not a priority.
They needed help and MRDP had its way through the Community Fund for Agricultural Development, a poverty alleviation program of the Philippine government with funding from the World Bank and implemented through the Department of Agriculture.
With the help of the Municipal and Provincial Facilitators, the SAFAI in Brgy. San Agustin, Carmen, Agusan del Norte was organized. Comprising of 15 households, the SAFAI was able to avail of the ‘big ticket’ project of MRDP-CFAD amounting to P5 million where P800 thousand came from the coffers of PLGU-Agusan del Norte as counterpart.
Before the project was implemented, members were capacitated with various skills training on bangus production and financial management.
While other residents continue to live in the cliché “to see is to believe”, the 15 household-members started to labor voluntarily to start establishing their Bangus Mariculture Livelihood Project. The funding received from DA-MRDP was then used to construct 6 bangus fish cages and financed the first stocking and feeding of their bangus production.
On May 29, 2013, they started stocking each cage on a one week interval with 16,500 fingerlings. The members took turns in taking care and feeding of the stocks which run for four months.
Finally, a heaping 6.1 tons was initially harvested last October 11 with a ready buyer from Butuan City named Ocean Deep who will bring the products to Cebu City as their end market. An estimated P450,000.00 income was initially gained while harvest of the next cages will follow one or two weeks later.
“We are looking forward to a much bigger harvest the coming weeks because with the six cages, this first one had the most number of mortalities compared with the others,” an excited Chairman Peter Felicilda said after a whole day of harvest.
“Hopefully through this project our needs will be met and we will already be able to send our children to school,” he added.
According to Municipal Agriculturist Nimfa Fernando, the project aims to help not only the 15 members but also other households who are willing to join and benefit from the project. “Fifty percent of the net income shall be divided among the members and the other fifty percent shall be put in the association funds to finance other next in line beneficiary,” she said.
After the recent activity, housewives will also be trained with bangus processing for them to gain additional knowledge on how to earn additional income. (NCLM/Emmylou T. Presilda, DA-RFU 13/PIA-Agusan del Norte)