By Armando B. Fenequito Jr.

DAVAO CITY – The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will offer shrimp and fish farming as major livelihood projects to the returning for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and expatriates returning to Mindanao.

MinDA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in a statement these two aquaculture undertakings have a huge return on investments.

Piñol said the income under this livelihood for the returning OFWs and expatriates will improve with the help of modern technology.

“With modern technology farming and better broodstocks, the Philippine Vannamei or White Shrimps production is now at 60,000 metric tons every year. The country’s estimated market requirement is placed at 100,000 metric tons every year or a shortfall of 40,000 metric tons,” he said.

He said the shrimp industry experienced a slump for years due to the outbreak of different diseases like White Spot Syndrome (WSSV), Hypodermic Haemotopoetic Infectious Necrosis Virus, Taura Syndrome Virus (TSV) and Yellow Head Virus (YHV), which forced farmers to abandon the industry.

However, Piñol said that shrimp farming is making a comeback in Mindanao. He explained that Mindanao, specifically the southern islands with its cleaner water and the fact that it is almost free from typhoons, which battered the northern part of the country every year make it ideal for growing shrimp, particularly the Vannamei species.

“Charoen Pokphand Foods Philippines (CPF Philippines), a Thai agriculture and aquaculture conglomerate, is the leading investor in Vannamei farming in the Philippines. Using their improved stocks, which come from their hatchery and nursery in Rayong, Thailand, and their modern technology, they have been engaging local farmers,” he said.

He also said that CPF Philippines Asst. Vice President Marjun Villanueva mentioned that a P2 million investment would generate a net profit of P1 million every cycle, and the farm could have as much as three cycles a year.

Last Tuesday (June 16), Piñol along with the MinDA team visited their facility in Hagonoy, Davao del Sur, along with a prospective investor, the Filipino-owned Fintech Aqua Ventures.

He said MinDA will engage CPF Philippines in conducting a Webinar or On-Line orientation on both White Shrimps Farming and Fish Cage Farming, for Filipinos both here and abroad who would like to invest in Mindanao.