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RP: World’s No. 1 Tuna Producer
« on: June 18, 2007, 04:21:09 PM »
By Ronnel Domingo
The Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY is launching next week a four-day trade fair in General Santos City to promote the One Town, One Product (Otop) initiative in Mindanao, and turn the country into one of the world’s top tuna exporters.

According to Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte, chair of the House committee on fisheries, the Philippines is likely to emerge as the world’s No. 1 tuna producer once the government carries out a new law spurring handline fishing, forges new bilateral fishing pacts, and secures greater foreign market access for the high-value produce.

Citing data from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Villafuerte said the country’s tuna output in 2006 reached some 500,000 tons which exceeded 10 percent of the world’s total yield of 4 million tons.

Trade Undersecretary Carissa C. Evangelista said in an interview that the GenSan Otop fair was also part of a series of trade shows designed to encourage towns in the regions to develop products and services that are unique to them.

In GenSan, the Otop features are tuna products, in which 50 small- to large-scale firms are engaged in processing and exports.

“Activities of these firms not only benefit those directly employed but also thrive on linkages to other industries such as deep-sea fishing, cold storage, packaging, transportation and communication as well as retail,” Evangelista said.

She said GenSan’s tuna industry could help push the country’s standing in the global tuna trade since it is geared mainly for export.

The city’s Otop firms produce some 3,000 metric tons yearly, ringing up $10 million in exports sales yearly and P50 million in domestic revenue.

GenSan’s products are shipped to the United States, the Middle East, Germany and Japan and to key cities in the country.

The city’s Otop lineup includes scrap sashimi grade tuna meat, chorizo, tocino, lumpia, patties, loaf, embotido, hotdog, ham, siomai, nuggets, tuna cheese roll, dried tuna, panga, belly, tuna paprika.

Evangelista said the Otop Philippines program, of which she is in charge, is also preparing for a first-ever Otop national congress.

She said this is a runup to a big Otop event next year when the originator of the concept -- Morihiko Hiramatsu, former governor of Oita prefecture where the One Village One Product campaign began -- would visit the country to find out unique experiences in Otop as well as share achievements of other countries.

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