Sec. Manny Piñol to modernising fishing industry without Government cost


Modernising fishing industry


By Manny Piñol

In June this year, shortly before I took over the Dept. of Agriculture, I visited California and talked to the owner of Seafood City one of the biggest Asian supermarkets in the West Coast, and discussed why products from the Philippines are losing out to items coming from Thailand, Vietnam and even Cambodia.

William Go, one of the Filipino-American brothers who own Seafood City, said that sanitary issues are the main hindrances in the entry of Philippine products into the American market.

Go cited dried fish and bagoong as among the products which are in demand among Filipino-Americans living in the US but could hardly enter the US market because of sanitary and health issues.

The method of drying fish in the Philippines exposes the dried fish to dust and even flies not to mention the inconsistent quality and moisture of the dried fish and the very poor packaging.

When I was in Samar in September, I saw how much fish is wasted because of the lack cold storage, ice-making and fish drying facilities.

A study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) showed that almost 40% of the fish catch around the world is lost to spoilage because of the lack of post harvest facilities.

This problem may end soon.

On Nov. 1, I and Undersecretaries Evelyn Laviña and Eduardo Gongona and members of the Philippine delegation, visited an engineering company in Monrovia, Southern California, Belco Engineering, which designs and fabricates machines according to the needs of their clients.

I asked brothers Mike and Paul Mizik, descendants of Slovak immigrants, if they could design and build a modern fish drying facility which would not only dry the fish uniformly but also bring it through an irradiation and packaging line.

My idea was after the fish is manually cleaned by workers, this would be placed in a conveyor which would bring it to a dehydrating machine which would uniformly dry the fish and ensure that it retains its succulence.

From there, it would go through an irradiation equipment to ensure that there will be no bacteria in the fish and then it would be brought to an automatic packaging machine where it would be ready for the market in nice-looking packages.

The irradiation process for food items is now the internationally accepted process to ensure only safe and sanitary food is offered in the market.

I saw the eyes of Mike and Paul literally glitter and they both said they could design the machine.

So, on Nov. 2, a day after the visit, Mike Mizik and I signed a Memorandum of Understanding which stipulated that Belco Engineering will start designing the machine and install a prototype in the Philippines by early next year at no cost to the Philippine government.

In January next year, Mike Mizik and his design engineers will visit the Philippines and go to the fishing grounds to gather the needed technical details they need to perfect the design.

When this is done, I believe we will be able to modernise our fish drying method and improve the lives of the fishermen inn the different fishing grounds of the country.

For me, it is a realisation of my desire to provide answers to a problem which has stunted the growth of the fishing industry of the country and caused so much poverty in the countryside.

#Changeishere! #PresRodyCares! #DuterteDelivers!

(Photos taken by Vice Mayor Lito Piñol show our visit to the Belco Engineering in Monrovia with brothers Mike and Paul Mizik briefing us on the functions of their machines. Other photos downloaded from Goodgle show the conditions of fishermen in the countryside and the fish drying process in the country which results in unsanitary products. )

Sec. Manny Piñol to modernising fishing industry without Government cost Sec. Manny Piñol to modernising fishing industry without Government cost Reviewed by Online tricks on 12:50:00 AM Rating: 5
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