ANTIPOLO CITY, Rizal, Feb. 19 (PIA) — Local farmers, Municipal Agriculture Officers, and businessmen of Rizal province recently attended Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Rizal’s Investment Opportunity Forum on the fish called pangasius Antipolo City.
Romy Pol of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – National Inland Fisheries Training Center briefed the attendees on the characteristics and history of pangasius.
According to Pol, pangasius comes from the family of the catfish and originates from the Mekong River which runs through China, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand. The specie is very hardy and lays around 50,000 eggs. However, studies show that pangasius only lays eggs in the Mekong River and must be induced to lay eggs in other habitats or fishponds. The fish also only reach sexual maturity after two to three years. BFAR also reiterated that pangasius are only allowed to be bred in inland fishponds in the country.
Feeds for pangasius are cheap due to the specie being detrivores (animals which feed on detritus or food particles in water).
The forum, in cooperation with the Rizal Provincial Government, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – National Inland Fisheries Training Center (BFAR-NIFTC), Pangasius Industry Association of Rizal (PIAR) and Vitarich Corporation, was held February 15 to give potential investors a background of the Pangasius industry.
According to DTI-Rizal Provincial Director Mercedes Parreno the value chain of pangasius has already been identified at the regional level and several linkages have already been created in Calabarzon to support the industry.
DTI recently identified 32 key industries nationwide, 18 of which are feasible in Calabarzon. Eleven out of the 15 industries prioritized in the region are highly feasible in Rizal including the pangasius industry.
The agency also coordinates with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and Department of Agriculture (DA) for convergence programs to help cooperatives and farmers with the food and processing aspects of pangasius.
However, Director Parreno reiterated that while the department prioritizes the strengthening of the pangasius industry, it does not aim to replace any staple fish.
“We do not intend to replace tilapia or any other staple fish with pangasius but we want to increase the food options we have.” Parreno said.
Also present during the forum were former Rizal governor Rebecca “Nini” Ynares, Provincial Agriculture Officer Dr. Reynaldo Bonita and PIAR President Orlando Rico. (CPG/GG-PIA4A)