PHILIPPINES - Aquaculture, which was described by a United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization study as the “big future”, is now gaining ground in Gensan with the city’s hosting of the 10th National Shrimp Congress.
Philippine Shrimp Industry Incorporated (PHILSHRIMP) President Roberto Gatuslao, the organizer of the event, said this was the first time that the National Shrimp Congress was held outside of Visayas.
General Santos City is a good place to hold the congress as it has areas and near to areas that are suitable to culture prawns and shrimps, he added.
Gatuslao also said that the number of interested investors in the shrimp industry is found in Mindanao, especially in agricultural regions such as Soccsksargen.
In an interview, City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said the city is open for new investments and businesses, especially in the fields of agro-industry and aquaculture.
“Gensan has been for decades known as the Tuna Capital of the Philippines. My direction is to take it beyond the Tuna Capital. We want General Santos City to have a strong economic activity through diverse businesses,” Mayor Rivera said.
“We can present opportunities and advantages for investors when they will choose Gensan. First, we have our airport and water port to provide access and trade to other regions and places. We are also improving our support facilities such as the water and power supply to cater the demands of our investors. And doing business here in Gensan is easy because of our new investment code."
He also assured help to small investors and cooperatives that would like to grow farms of shrimps.
To prove that there is profit in growing shrimps, Director Asis Perez of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said that in the Philippines, the annual income generated by the industry is already P10 billion, which translates to is already generating 60,000 to 70,000 metric tone of catch.
This statement was supported by Senator Cynthia Villar who attended the congress. Villar revealed that aquaculture now constitutes almost half of the water catches of the Philippines.
For years, the Philippines has been heavily dependent on the fishing industry and “wild catches”.
Villar also confirmed that the Senate is now amending the Fisheries Code of the Philippines to increase the regional protectionism of national waters.
“If we can’t preserve and protect our waters, our seas will be virtually become deserts in the next 35 years. We should create balance between our resources so that we will not lose one of it," Villar followed,” Villar emphasized.
With this, Mayor Rivera was hopeful that many would take interest in entering the shrimp business.
"I am very confident that the industry itself has a good future here in our region if we can encourage, help, and teach our people how to be successful in culturing shrimps," Mayor Rivera said.
The 10th National Shrimp Congress focused on the new innovations in the industry as the new face of aquaculture. Discussions on grown-out farming, hatchery operations, feed milling, processing and exporting, and input supplies were also elucidated during the congress.
TheFishSite News Desk