Photo courtesy of Mindanews

by Secretary Emmanuel Piñol
Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

Pagadian City - The popular "Pagadian Bulad" or Pagadian Dried Fish will soon be sold in neat vacuum-packs complete with traceability labels as the Zamboanga Del Sur Provincial Government starts a program to add value to its fisheries products.

Dried Fish-Making is one of the major livelihood activities of fishing families in Zamboanga Del Sur but while the product is popular, it has not really gained a large share of the market because of concerns on food safety and traceability.

On Monday, in a meeting with the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) team, Zamboanga Del Sur Governor Victor Yu and his wife, Congresswoman Divine Yu, presented three priority projects which they said would help the immediate economic recovery of the province.

These are:

1. Modern fish-drying facilities complete with packing equipment to add value to the dried fish industry of the province which produces hundreds of tons of sun-dried fish;

2. Ice Factory and Cold Storage either in Pagadian City or Pitogo town to ensure good quality fresh fish from the fishing grounds of the province;

3. Bangus Fry Hatchery and Nursery to supply the estimated 10,000 hectares of fishponds with fingerlings and spur the development of a nascent aqua activity - Bangus fish cage farming.

The Zamboanga Del Sur proposals will be included in the list of projects which will be lined up for inclusion in the EU35.5-million grant from the European Union for the Mindanao Peace and Development Program which will be implemented by MinDA through the its development partner, GIZ of Germany, and the World Bank Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP).

Following the meeting last Monday, MinDA planning and technical teams will be dispatched to Zamboanga Del Sur to assist the provincial government in preparing their project proposals.

In the timeline which I set, all project proposals will have to be in before the end of August.

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