The Department of Science and Technology Region V (DOST V) thru its Provincial S&T Office - Masbate is implementing a pilot project entitled “Mechanized Libod Fish Drying Technology” in partnership with the Local Government Unit (LGU) - Batuan. DOST and LGU-Batuan entered into an agreement for the provision of mechanical dryer and technical assistance in the form of training on fish processing, handling and packaging and good manufacturing practices. This entails funding amounting to P572,000 under the DOST Grant-in-Aid program that is envisioned to benefit the fish processing sector in Ticao Island consisting of the Municipalities of Batuan, Monreal, San Fernando and San Jacinto.
Fishing is the main economic activity in Ticao Island. “Libod”, an abundant anchovy species available year round is being processed and preserved through the age-old practices. Sun drying, which is unsanitary and prone to microbial contamination is done by most fishermen and fish processors. To produce quality dried “libod’ fish compared to the traditional practice, the Samahang Mangingisda ng Gibraltar (SAMAGI), a DOLE registered fishermen association sought the assistance of DOST to adopt an efficient and hygienic process. Located in Barangay Gibraltar, Batuan, Masbate, SAMAGI is composed of forty (40) fishermen-processors.
The equipment delivered to SAMAGI last 23 February 2011 has a capacity of 200kgs/batch. Its test run and initial operation for two consecutive trials with different fish species were successfully conducted. For its counterpart, LGU-Batuan provided the production building with a funding support of P 800,000. Now on its final construction phase, it is set to be completed this July 2011. Commercial operation using the mechanized fish dryer is also expected in same month. DOST’s strategies and interventions are part of its high-impact project development on fish processing that will help boost the production of high quality dried fish, provide value adding in the utilization of fish resources and generate more livelihood opportunities in improving the economic conditions of fishermen and their families in the area (P.O.Lucena/D.A.Peña,DOST V/E.G.Guim,PSTO-Masbate).