Zamboanga del Sur presents aquaculture upgrade plan for possible EU program funding

ZAMBOANGA DEL Sur is proposing three priority projects for boosting its aquaculture sector, including labelling for its dried fish products to expand its market. The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will put the proposal in the list of projects for consideration under the €35.5-million European Union grant for the Mindanao Peace and Development Program. “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,” MinDA Chair Emmanuel F. Piñol announced Thursday. “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,” he added. The three proposed priority projects are: modern fish-drying and packing facilities;ice factory and cold storage either in Pagadian City or the town of Pitogo; and a milkfish fry hatchery to supply about 10,000 hectared of fishponds. Mr. Piñol said a MinDA team will assist the provincial government in preparing the formal project proposals, which will be submitted before end-August.