The Philippines' Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala announced that the country is set to export milkfish and other aquaculture produce to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Alcala said in a statement on February 11 that the representatives from UAE Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will visit the country this month.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) chief added that the UAE officials will meet with their counterpart, as well as representatives from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
The UAE officials will discuss in particular Sarangani's bangus (milkfish) and other aquaculture products, Alcala said. "We are looking at opening [trade] initially for Filipino communities in the Middle East," he said.
Alcala also visited a local aquaculture company in the area, the Alson's Aquaculture Corp. in Alabel town, Sarangani. The company has been growing milkfish, prawns, tilapia, pompano, sea bass, eels, snappers and groupers. It grows their produce from ponds to meet demands for live, chilled and processed food fish products in Philippines and overseas markets, according to the statement.
The DA chief also reportedly met with tuna stakeholders at the General Santos Fish Port Complex and informed the group that the fishery sector, after six years, registered a positive increase.
Alcala also disclosed that on the fourth week of this month, BFAR Director Asis Perez will travel to Indonesia to secure a consent allowing Filipino handliner and purse line tuna fishers to use Indonesian navigational lane.
Upon Alcala's instructions, the BFAR is also preparing a position paper on the request of the industry for a fuel rebate on taxes and duties rebates for fishers plying the high seas, the statement said.