GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/07 February) — The Department of Agricultural (DA) will make a big push for the expansion of market opportunities in the Middle East for the prime bangus or milkfish products of Sarangani Province.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said he will personally make the sales pitch for Sarangani’s bangus and other aquaculture products in his scheduled meeting in Manila later this month with a trade group from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“In two weeks, I will be hosting some visitors from the UAE and I’ll try my best to help market these products,” he said in a press conference here late Thursday afternoon.
Alcala, who is on a three-day swing in Region 12, visited on Wednesday afternoon the facilities of the Alsons Aquaculture Corporation based in Alabel town in Sarangani.
Alsons, a subsidiary of the Alcatara Group, operates a fish hatchery, land-based growout farms and cages as well as a fish processing plant.
Its multi-species fish hatchery operations produces around a billion milkfish fry and a million fingerlings of pomfret, seabass, green grouper and tilapia annually, a company briefer said.
It produces processed fish products such as milkfish, pomfret, seabass and tilapia under the Sarangani Bay brand.
The company exports various value-added variants of milkfish such as smoked, deboned, marinated and prime cuts as well as whole pompano and seabass to the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, Hongkong and parts of Europe and the Middle East.
Alcala said the Middle East is a prime expansion area for Alsons being a certified Halal producer and accredited by the Islamic Da’wah Council of the Philippines.
“We can initially open it to the Filipino communities in the Middle East,” he said.
Aside from Alsons, Alcala said his department will also assist in looking for potential markets for other industries in Region 12, including the tuna industry.
This city, which is dubbed the country’s tuna capital, currently hosts six of the country’s seven tuna canneries and a range of ancillary industries.
Alcala met with local tuna industry stakeholders as part of his engagements in the region, which hosted the agency’s quarterly national management conference at the Greenleaf Hotel here on Thursday.
“We’re presently giving special attention to Region 12 because of the big potential that it has in terms of the achievement of our national programs. We’re here to make sure that the region will continue to get the necessary support from the national government,” he said.
Region 12, which is also known as the Soccsksargen Region, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato. (MindaNews)