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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

Members of the Rural Improvement Club of Ata-Atahon, Nasipit, Agusan del Norte will soon be producing sanitary and quality Spanish Sardines in glass jars as the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) provided funds for the purchase of the needed equipment.

The set of equipment include a mini-boiler designed by a multi-awarded Mindanao inventor which produces steam to dry fish even during rainy days and nighttime and a 500-bottle capacity "retort" chamber.

The steam-powered fish dryers could dry 200 kilos of "Tamban" or small "Bangus" in six hours for a maximum capacity of 800 kilos for a 24-hour operation.

The steam-powered dryer will also end the traditional drying process which leaves the fish open to dust, flies and contamination.

The "Retort Chamber" which was also designed by inventor Rudy Cane of Butuan City, Agusan del Norte will replace the pressure cookers which the women members of RICA have been using to lengthen the shelf life of the bottled sardines.

The "Retort Chamber" usually costs about P5-million but the mini-version designed by Engr. Cane, including the mini-boiler and steam-powered fish dryers, has a total cost of P424,000.

MinDA also assisted the women members of RICA with a more marketable label for their Spanish Sardines designed by MinDA worker Samuel Ponsica.

The whole equipment package will be set up in an area offered by Nasipit Mayor Enrico Covera and will be operational before March 1, the date when the three-month Closed Fishing Season in Mindanao is lifted.

Twelve other fishing towns in Mindanao will also be provided with similar facilities, including vacuum-packing equipment for dried fish production.

The fund grant for these program comes from MinDA's meager budget of P180-M for 2021.

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