MISAMIS ORIENTAL TAPPED AS FISH CENTER
Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has announced that Misamis Oriental will be one of the 22 local government units that would benefit from the agency's Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Program.
During the signing of an agreement between MinDA and the provincial government on the "digitalization of agri-fishery and socio-economic information partnership," Piñol told Governor Yevgeny Vicente Emano that the program is under a project grant funded by the European Union through the Mindanao Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MinFAD).
"Just pick a place where to put it. This is what we call a fish center. It is a facility where you have an ice plant, cold storage blast freezer, and processing facility. Why? The problem in Mindanao is that there are many fish products, (but they are) not reaching the markets because there is no ice," he said.
The lack of storage facility of newly-caught fish and other marine food sources has limited the productivity of Mindanao fishermen, according to Piñol, who also mentioned similar situations in Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Camiguin provinces.
When operational, he said all of the fish centers would be interconnected in a digital platform that will monitor how much fish is caught in Misamis Oriental, information of the fish varieties caught, and what markets these fish will be sold.
Under the agreement, MinDA and the provincial government would collaborate in the streamlining of data and information between the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAGRO) and MinDA Tienda, which will boost the planning and implementation of strategic projects and programs of the province.
"We have been dreaming this day, to make sure that our data are updated for our value chain players to have access to information to decide on the kind of investment that they are going to engage in Misamis Oriental," PAGRO chief Apollo Pacamalan siad.
As part of the agreement, MinDA is also tasked with providing technical support to the province in mapping agriculture and aquaculture sites, including the database of individual farmers and farmer groups.
"This will actually provide the benchmark in the entire country, that if our information system is lodged in the provincial level, then we can have an online, real-time updating of information so that market information is available at the farmers' field at the same time. We can actually shape up programs for the farmers based on what the market wants," Pacamalan said.