BANGUS, CHICHARON, TILAPIA, TOCINO NOW IN THE MARKET

Manila, August 13, 2003 (STAR) Canned "paksiw na bangus". Ready-to-eat canned tilapia escabeche, spicy tilapia, sweet and sour tilapia, and tilapia in oil.

If you do not relish canned food, why not tilapia chorizo and chicharon. Or bangus chorizo and chicharon?

These are but among the new processed fish products now in the market courtesy of a government-assisted firm, the EGM Agri Food Industries (EGMFI) in Buluan, Maguindanao.

EGMFI, founded in 1990 by Esmael Mangudadatu (now mayor of Buluan), has set up its processing plant in General Santos City (South Cotabato) with the technical assistance of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) through BFAR-Region 12 headed by Director Sani Macabalang.

It started its business venture raising milkfish and tilapia in cages and pens in Lake Buluan. Recently, it branched out into fish processing.

EGMFI displayed its canned and uncannned products at the 7th Meeting of the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia, Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area) Working Group on Fisheries Cooperation held not long ago in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan.

Aside from the products earlier mentioned, exhibited by EGMFI were tilapia fillet and belly and bangus fillet and belly.

"The EGMFI booth was a crowd drawer," reported Wilfredo Yap of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center Aquaculture Department (SEAFDE CAQD) based in Tigbauan, Iloilo.

Yap said the fresh fish used for the products were all grown in the fertile waters of Lake Buluan without any artificial fertilizers, chemicals, pesticides and antibiotics, enabling the company to promote the processed fish as "Organic Products for a Healthier You!"

Moreover, all the products are Halal-certified (prepared in adherence to approved Islamic standards) and can be sold in all Muslim countries.

This is not surprising because Mayor Mangudadatu is a Maguindanaon fondly called "Mayor Toto" by his constituents. Rudy A. Fernandez


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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