Casco boats from PRDP to boost Panganiban, Catanduanes’ mangrove crab industry
PANGANIBAN, CATANDUANES – Creating Road of Advanced Bureaucracy (CRAB). This is a catchphrase describing the Municipality of Panganiban, a fifth class municipality located approximately one hour and 30 minutes away from Virac, the provincial capital. Being a major source of “King” type crablets, Panganiban aims to become the province’s crab capital by translating its local crab industry into a booming business enterprise.
The Philippine Rural Development Project in Bicol (PRDP-Bicol) is likewise convinced of the municipality’s development thrust. On July 26, 2018, PRDP Deputy Project Director Shandy Hubilla of the Project Support Office (PSO) South Luzon, together with a team from PRDP-Bicol travelled to the municipality to deliver 40 casco boats to the Panganiban Fisherfolk Association, Inc. (PFA). This is part of the P6.78 million-worth Mangrove Crab Production and Marketing Enterprise.
“Saindo na po ining project. Urgolyo iyan na kamo digdi sa Panganiban ang mag-escosar na maging capital kita kang mangrove crab na masiramon (This project is yours. It is your pride to exert efforts toward becoming the capital of this delicious mangrove crab),” Hubilla said, claiming that the crablet in Panganiban locally known as “kinis” is the tastiest crab he ever tried.
He further encouraged the association to work together for the sustainability of the enterprise subproject.
The casco boats, which cost P17,000 each, will benefit 80 PFA members engaged in mangrove crab production. A pre-bid conference was also conducted on July 26 for the P2.67 million-worth trading center to be constructed in Brgy. San Vicente in Panganiban, designed to systematize production, buying and marketing of the marketable-sized crabs produced by PFA.
One of the member-beneficiaries of the Mangrove Crab Production and Marketing Enterprise subproject is 43-year-old Alma F, Morales, a mangrove crab gatherer for 23 years. A fisherman’s wife and mother to 11 children, Alma starts her day at 3 a.m. to prepare food for her family and the mangrove crabs, which feed on mollusks. She walks for 10 minutes daily to reach the aquasilvi farm and spends at least five hours there to feed and gather her stocks. Oftentimes, she rents a non-motorized boat for P100 per day to gather mangrove crabs and sells them to market buyers for P6 to P24 per piece, depending on their size classification.
“Nagpapasalamat po ako sa suporta ng PRDP sa pamamagitan ng bangka na yan at sa pagkakaroon ng trading center. Makakatulong po ito ng malaki kasi ang mga bangka nandyan na naghihintay na sa daungan hindi tulad noon na kung kailan nakahanda na kami ng pain at sagwan tapos wala na kaming marerentahan na bangka kasi puno na. Hindi na rin kami maghahanap pa ng buyer (I am grateful for PRDP’s support by giving us these boats and for funding our trading center. It will greatly help us because there will be boats for us to use at the harbour unlike before that although we’re ready with our bait and paddle, we can’t gather mangrove crabs because there are no more boats for rent. With the trading center, we don’t have to chase our buyers),” Morales said.
She added that the casco boats will be very useful in site preparation, feeding and crablet gathering.
“Masuwerte ang Panganiban na tayo ang may asosasyon na nakapaloob sa crab. Ang tanging hangad ko lang na sana maumpisahan ng tama ang programa na naibigay sa atin ng national government at mabiyayaan ang ating bayan na magkaroon ng hanap-buhay tungkol sa alimango. Sa tulong ng PRDP, OPAG at sa tulong ng PFA siguro maipagpapatuloy natin ang crab grow-out dito sa Panganiban (Panganiban is lucky for having an association that engages in crab production. My only wish is that this program from the national government will be started correctly that it may benefit our municipality by providing crab-related livelihood activities. With the help of PRDP, OPAG and PFA, we hope to sustain the crab grow-out in Panganiban),” Mayor Robert A. Fernandez remarked.
PFA president Jesus Ceballo hopes that through the enterprise development project, the organization will be known as a supplier of high quality crabs which will redound to higher income for the gatherers.
“Pangarap din namin na sa pamamagitan ng proyektong ito, makilala ang Panganiban sa mapa ng Pilipinas (We dream that through this project, Panganiban will become known in the entire Philippines),” he said. Part of PFA’s sustainability plan is requiring the member-beneficiaries to sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and Supply Contract. “Kailangan po namin yun para sa maintenance at kapag kumikita na kami madadagdagan pa ang mga yan (We need that sustainability plan for the casco boats’ maintenance so that we could buy more units when we’re already earning much),” he said. PFA will assign two members per boat to alternately feed or gather mangrove crabs daily.
The Mangrove Crab Production and Marketing Enterprise is one of the four enterprise subprojects in Catanduanes funded under PRDP. The Project also supports the province’s Abaca Fiber Processing and Trading Enterprise in Virac, the TAFFIA Broiler Production and Marketing in Pandan, and the Commercial Palay Production in Gigmoto. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS V)