PANGANIBAN, CATANDUANES – Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness Dr. Andrew Villacorta is confident that the Philippine Rural Development Project’s (PRDP) Mangrove Crab Production and Marketing Enterprise will uplift the quality of lives of farmers and fisherfolk in this municipality.

At the consultation meeting with the Panganiban Fisherfolks’ Association (PFA) Inc. as part of the 8th World Bank Implementation Support Mission to South Luzon Cluster on May 30, 2019, Villacorta noted that based from his interview with one of the enterprise’s mangrove crab grower-members, the latter received 50 crablets which will be sold exclusively to PFA Inc.  

“When I was computing it, that’s about P800 per day. And in a month’s time, kung araw-araw kayo masipag manghuli, lumalabas na your income for one month is about P26,000. Kami ay natutuwa sa project dahil nakikitaan namin ito ng magandang future na makakatulong talaga sainyong mga farmers and fisherfolks (When I was computing it, that’s about P800 per day. And in a month’s time, if you will be diligent enough to gather crabs daily, you can earn about P26,000 monthly income. We are happy about this project because we see bright prospects which could really help our farmers and fisherfolks),” he said. 

The P6.78 million-worth enterprise is designed to support and strengthen the province’s mangrove crab value chain by establishing the PFA Inc. as common assembler-buyer and marketing arm. It will benefit 132 individuals by increasing farmer-members’ income from P36,508 to P56,760 annually.

With 85.17 percent physical progress as of May 21, 2019, PRDP already delivered 40 casco boats, 2,000 pieces of crab containers, 150 kilograms of monofilament fishing lines, and 100 units of crab cages to the PFA. The Project also provided a hauling vehicle and motorcycle with fabricated sidecar in support to the enterprise.

In addition, a two-storey Mangrove Crab Trading Center/Office worth P2.67 million was constructed to systematize the production, buying and marketing of marketable-size crabs. The enterprise also intends to address the declining crab production in the island province as well as the lack of structured and organized buying center for crablets and marketable mangrove crabs.

Ronnie Cabangon, a crab gatherer and PFA Inc. member, said that his income was doubled through the PRDP.

“Malaking tulong po talaga yung naibigay ng PRDP sa aming organisasyon. Kasi noon nakakapaghanap-buhay kami kapag nakakahiram lang po ng bangka, yun lang po. Sa ngayon dahil kami’y may sarili na ring bangka galing sa PRDP, halos sa isang linggo nakakapag-five days kami, so nadoble yung income namin… Malaking tulong yung magkaroon ng buying center dahil may Crab Center kami rito. At the same time, sa pagma-parket namin madali na po. Kasi noon pag walang buyer, hindi kami makapaghanap-buhay so pawala-wala yung kita ngayon medyo sustainable na yung pamimili. Antime may kita kami hindi tulad noon na naghahanap talaga kami ng buyer. (The Project greatly helped our organization. Unlike before that we can only earn a living upon borrowing a boat, now we can work for at least five days, which doubled our income. Having a buying center will be very beneficial for us because of our existing crab center. It will facilitate our marketing process. Before, we used to have difficulty finding a buyer, earning a living was inconsistent. Now, marketing crabs has become sustainable. Anytime, we can gain an income unlike before that we struggle in finding buyers.)

On the other hand, Severino Ocillos, a mangrove crab stocker since 2018, shared that with this job, he earns about P10,000 to P15,000 monthly.

“Gumanda ang buhay ko. Tumaas na ang kita ko. Nakabili na ako ng mga gamit sa bahay at kumuha na rin ako ng motor (My life has improved. I now earn a higher income thus, I was able to purchase some home appliances. I was able to buy a motorcycle too),” he added.      Catanduanes is a prime source of “King type” crablets for crab growers in Bicol and other provinces nationwide. The PRDP’s Mangrove Crab Production and Marketing Enterprise is engaged in buying and distribution of crablets to crab grower-members and selling of marketable-sized crabs. The enterprise development (I-REAP) subproject is being implemented by the PFA Inc., with funding and technical assistance from the DA-PRDP and the Provincial Government of Catanduanes. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS V)