PEF eyes more agri-aqua enterprises in Quezon province

PEF team, composed of Peter Nabong, Marieanne Itol and Alfred Escaño, joined Yakap at Halik Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MPC) last May to assess the economic systems, available resources, and social services in three towns in Bondoc Peninsula – Padre Burgos, Agdangan and Unisan.

The findings from the site visit will help PEF develop possible enterprises on coconut byproducts and aqua culture development projects. Despite being a top coconut producer, the province of Quezon remains to be one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines. The current annual per capita poverty threshold in Quezon province is PHP 20,515, but coconut farm-tenants earn PHP3,000 to PHP4,000 while coconut farmers earn about PHP7,000 per cycle (or every 90 days). Aside from farming, fisherfolks earn only PHP 100 to PHP 200 per day.

The team returned to Bondoc Peninsula the following month with coastal resource management (CRM) expert and PEF Board member Roberto Ballon, who also chairs the Kapunungan sa Gagmay’ng Mangingisda sa Concepcion (KGMC) or Small Fisherfolks Association of Concepcion in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay. Mr. Ballon spearheaded innovative livelihood projects, transforming their community into an ecotourism destination.

Aside from sharing best practices, he also stressed the importance of mangroves, and the need to protect the marine coastal resources, which can be an alternative source of income for coconut growing communities.

In July, PEF board approved a total funding of PHP 4.4 million for the coastal program of Yakap at Halik MPC to provide livelihood opportunities for the fisherfolks and at the same time, protect and rehabilitate the mangrove forests.

This activity is part of the area development approach of PEF to broaden understanding of other industries and sectors that will loop into existing social enterprises.