MATI, the capital of Davao Oriental province, recently celebrated its 14th year of cityhood with projects supporting agri-ventures, particularly fisheries and dairy production.

The city broke ground on a modern fishport, which is expected to pave the way for a processing industry.

Mati Mayor Michelle N. Rabat, in an online interview with BusinessWorld, said the city is projecting an annual fish catch of over 10,200 metric tons and more than 1,600 vessels that will utilize the port once completed.

The project has been given an initial P150-million allocation by the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority, divided into two P75-million multi-year releases.

“The fish port will greatly enhance the capability of the local government of Mati to preserve, protect, and develop the full potential of the Pujada Bay to greater management and balanced utilization in the long term,” she said.

She said the sectors expected to be enhanced or started include boat/yacht works, storage facilities, and value-added processing like cannery businesses.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) turned over the first dairy processing plant and marketing outlet in the city to KARBENA, an association of agrarian reform beneficiaries.

“It is not easy to take a step into dairying but we at DA-PCC and our other partners are always here to support you,” PCC Deputy Director Caro B. Salces said during the turn-over ceremony.

Coconut has been the traditional agricultural commodity of Mati, as in the rest of Davao Oriental, but various diversification programs have been launched in recent years, including aquaculture and cacao. — Maya M. Padillo