Fisherfolk-turned-Entrepreneur Groups Launch their Businesses in Tacloban City

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Twelve farmer-fisherfolk groups have successfully showcased their innovative products at the Aqua-based Business School with Gender and Climate Change Perspective (ABS-GCC): Business Launching held on 29 May 2019 in Robinsons Place Mall, Marasbaras in Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines.

The Business Launch is a milestone for the groups as the event served as a culminating activity on the completion of the ABS – a new participatory action learning approach that capacitates men and women farmer-fisherfolk to develop and enhance their small enterprises.

The ABS is implemented by the Fisheries Coastal Resource and Livelihood (FishCORAL) Project of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, with technical support from the Food Resilience Through Root and Tuber Crops in Upland and Coastal Communities of the Asia-Pacific (FoodSTART+) of the International Potato Center. Furthermore, the ABS is piloted in three regions in the Philippines, namely, Region 8, the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Caraga Administrative Region. Region 8 is the first to pilot and complete the modules.

Ms. Arma Bertuso giving an overview about the ABS

For a year, the farmer-fisherfolk groups learned about the production-marketing cycle through interaction with value chain actors and stakeholders. These pilot groups are, (1) Binocyahan Women’s Integrated Seaweeds Farmer’s Association of Marabut, (2) Maligaya Agri-Business Association of Jiabong, (3) Tiklos Kabuhian han Kababayen-an han San Antonio Food Processors, and (4) Tinaogan Women’s Association of Basey, (5) Lewing Fisherfolk and Farmer’s Association of Anahawan, (6) San Pedro Island Fisherfolk Association of Hinunangan, and (7) San Vicente United Farmer’s and Fisherfolk Association of San Juan, (8) Del Rosario Fisherfolk Association of Naga in Quinapondan, (9) Taytay Abante Kababayen-an Association of Guiuan, (10) Vigan Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association of Vigan, General MacArthur, (11) Bangon Fisherfolk Association of Salcedo, and (12) Fisheries and Agricultural Crop Producers Association of Bacjao in Balangiga.

With perseverance and determination, the groups came up with innovative products that delighted the client’s taste buds, such as cassava and mussel crackers, bottled mussels, mussels sticks, deboned and fresh milkfish, dried squid, dried and processed seaweeds, live mangrove crab and grouper. People in the mall gathered and cheered the groups as they confidently promoted their products through their creative and playful business pitches.

Dr. Juan D. Albaladejo, BFAR 8 Regional Director commended the groups for finishing the ABS with flying colors. He further assured that BFAR and their partner agencies will continue to help the groups as they venture into the bigger market. “Ipagpapatuloy natin itong nasimulan niyo hanggang sa lumago at lumaki” (We will continue what you’ve started, and together we will help your businesses grow and prosper), he said.

Dr. Juan D. Albaladejo congratulating the groups on completing the ABS

Further, Dir. Celerina Bato, Regional Director of the Department of Trade and Industry assured the Bureau and the FishCORAL Project their continued support on empowering fisherfolk communities through value-adding fishery enterprises.

Dir. Celerina Bato ensuring DTI’s support to the ABS graduates

Another highlight of the Business Launch was the appreciation message given by Mr. Joselito Ramirez, Vice President of Vigan Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, on behalf of the farmer-fisherfolk groups. He expressed his gratitude to all the agencies that supported them all throughout the ABS. If not for the unwavering support of their community facilitators, and all other groups, they would not have the chance to stand on stage and face the crowd.

Mr. Joselito Ramirez sharing his appreciation message on behalf of the ABS graduates

Acknowledging the success of the ABS in Region 8, BFAR plans adopt the approach in the activities of the Bureau.

It can be said that FishCORAL and FoodSTART+ have capacitated the groups to become entrepreneurs, and now, they are ready to enter the bigger market and take their products to greater heights.

Written by Camille Joy Enalbes, CIP-FoodSTART+ Communication Specialist

Photos by Shayne Marie Araullo, Knowledge Management Officer, FishCORAL, and Camille Joy Enalbes

Video by Leo Abuda, Regional Knowledge Management Officer , FishCORAL, and Camille Joy Enalbes