“The Philippine shrimp industry plays a vital role in the country's pursuit of food security, livelihood generation, and foreign exchange earnings.”
This was the message of Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committees on Agriculture and Food, and Environment and Natural Resources, to all the participants of the 14th Philippine Shrimp Congress at the SMX Convention Center in Bacolod City on Wednesday, September 20.
Her message was delivered by her daughter, Las Piñas Representative Camille Villar.
The Philippine Shrimp Congress was a joint effort of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the Philippine Shrimp Industry (PHILSHRIMP) Inc., and the Negros Prawn Producers Cooperative (NPPC).
Villar said that according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, in 2022, the combined production volume from both aquaculture and inland municipal fisheries in the Philippines reached 88,058 metric tons, with 70,671 metric tons, or 80 percent, originating from the Aquaculture Sector and 17,386 metric tons, or 20 percent, from Inland Fisheries.
“Moreover, our shrimp export in 2022 is 3,467 metric tons. Thus, 96 percent of the total Philippine shrimp production is consumed domestically, while four percent is exported,” she added.
In 2022, the local demand for shrimp and prawns is only 82,008 metric tons, or 93 percent of the total production. Based on the aforementioned data, we have room for opportunity in terms of export, she said.
She added that according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2019, global shrimp production reached 6.41 million tons, with China leading as the top producer, contributing around 30 percent of the total.
The Philippines held the 8th position worldwide and the 4th position within Southeast Asia.
Villar said that in the Philippines, shrimp hold a significant position among aquaculture species. Two main species of shrimp are cultured in the country, such as P. monodon, also known as the giant black tiger shrimp or "sugpo," and P. vannamei, commonly referred to as the Pacific white shrimp or "suati."
She said the total production of sugpo and suati reached 64,578 metric tons in 2020, with 8 percent being exported and the remaining 92 percent consumed domestically. Shrimp ranked fourth among the major fisheries export commodities in the same year, following tuna (P24.6 billion), seaweeds (P12.9 billion), and crabs (P5.1 billion).
“I see this as an opportunity for our aquaculture and fisheries sectors to thrive, especially for our small scale shrimp producers,” she added.
Ryan Michael Alegre, chairman of the 14th Philippine Shrimp Congress, said they are happy to celebrate the 14th Philippine Shrimp Congress, with the theme The Philippine Shrimp Industry: Adapting to the Regional Open Market, face-to-face because the 13th Shrimp Congress was held virtually.
“Despite all the challenges that we have, we still have a lot of participants, which is at least 600 participants in the shrimp industry sector in the country. I think this is one of the biggest attendances for our industry sector. Everybody is interested to learn and convey all their issues here in our congress and improve our industry better,” he said.
Joseph Edgar Sarrosa, president of PHILISHRIMP, said that Negros Occidental was the epicenter of the intensive shrimp industry, which started in 1983 and 1984.
“We are very proud to say that the shrimp industry is self-sufficient, which is different from food security; our produce is more than demand. The Shrimp Congress was held twice a year for not only growers but also the stakeholders in the government, processors, traders, importers, and suppliers, among others,” he said.
He added that before, during, and after the Covid-19 pandemic, the shrimp industry has been resilient, strong, sound, and healthy.
The Philippine Shrimp Congress, a concerted effort of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the Philippine Shrimp Industry (PHILSHRIMP) Inc., and the Negros Prawn Producers Cooperative (NPPC), is a biennial event that serves as an avenue for the “meeting of minds” of both local and international key players in setting the direction towards a more sustainable and globally-competitive shrimp industry.
Atty. Demosthenes Escoto, director of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), said that currently, the shrimp industry is headed in the right direction.
“On the side of the government, we need to have a close collaboration with the private sector because, in doing that, we will be able to set the climate for the growth of the industry by implementing the frameworks, such as the good practices and the frameworks against diseases, among others,” he said.
Aside from Negros Occidental, he added that other top producers of shrimp in the country include the areas of General Santos in Mindanao and Batangas in Luzon.
Escoto noted that shrimp industry emanated from Negros Occidental, that’s why the 14th Philippine Shrimp Congress was celebrated here, and the “elders” of shrimp industry are here in the province.
Escoto also expressed his gratitude to the private sector for their efforts to reach out to the government in order for them to collaborate more to promote the industry road map.
Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, in his message delivered by City Administrator Pacifico Maghari III, said the Philippine Shrimp Industry plays a vital role in the nation's economy.
“It’s contributing significantly to our agricultural and economic sectors. The resilience and dedication of the individuals within this industry are truly ccommendable,and we salute the men and women behind this workforce,” Benitez said.
He said, “As the City Mayor of Bacolod, I recognize the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors. Strengthening our ties with the shrimp industry aligns with our city's goals of promoting economic growth, sustainability, and innovation.”
Furthermore, he said that he appreciates their interest in showcasing the city's programs, particularly those in the realm of tourism. “
Bacolod boasts a rich cultural heritage, picturesque landscapes, and warm-hearted people. I believe that events like this provide a wonderful opportunity to highlight our city's unique offerings to a wider audience,” Benitez added.