REPRESENTATIVES of government agencies and the private sector sat down last Friday during the 18th Fisheries Industry Stakeholders Summit here to finally agree on a plan for the branding of Dagupan bangus as the best milkfish for the local and international markets.
“I almost lost hope. It’s so unfair that other people would benefit from the quality of bangus we produce. (Now) we can achieve our goal (of branding),” said Nestor Domenden, regional director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Region 1.
Pangasinan is the biggest producer of bangus in the Philippines and Dagupan bangus has long been known to be the tastiest kind but making it distinct through special labels and packages in the market has not been achieved.
Domenden said what is needed is “just a little push” to realize the vision to make the local bangus achieve global acceptance and competitiveness.
Fishpond registration would be made among bangus producers to ensure quality as well of product and integrity of the brand, said Mea Baldonado, BFAR fish health officer.
“Bangus from Pangasinan and Dagupan City should officially carry the “Pangasinan Bangus” trade name that distinguishes them from others in quality taste and texture through a process of official registration accreditation and certification,” Domenden said.
A technical working group for the branding had been created consisting of the Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Development Agency, Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine Mechanization Office, Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, Department of Science and Technology, Bureau of Agricultural Fisheries Product Standards, RDC/National Economic Development Authority, Technical Education Skills Development Authority and the Department of Health.
The concept of branding the province’s bangus was set as early as 2007 when the Regional Development Council (RDC) issued a resolution supporting the promotion of Pangasinan bangus.
The RDC resolution cited that milkfish is the most dominant fish species not just in the province but in the entire Region 1, and those particularly cultured in Pangasinan and La Union enjoy higher market acceptability.
The resolution also cited that at that time, there were about 6,958 Micro Small and Medium Enterprises in the bangus production sector with a combined marketable volume of about 64,750 metric tons per year and employing about 16,500 people.
Of the recorded 86,017 metric tons bangus production in 2007, more than 90 percent were produced in western and central.
Meanwhile, Felicidad Tan, representative from the DOST, said once the Dagupan bangus is branded, it becomes a “silent salesman” by promoting itself with the good quality it has established over the years.
Rosario Segundina Gaerlan, BFAR officer-in-charge assistant regional director, for her part said with the Dagupan and later Pangasinan bangus branding, it will help consumers “to trace from farm to fork and ultimately have the product attain its distinct barcode”.—Eva Visperas