OPPORTUNITIES for giant freshwater shrimps are high in Northern Mindanao with the setting up of a 1,000-square meter pond with initial seedlings of 5,000 in three pilot areas in Gingoog City, Central Mindanao University in Musuan, Bukidnon and Mindanao State University-Naawan in Misamis Oriental.

Professor Henry E. Dejarme, director of MSU-Naawan's Research and Extension department, said each of these areas has 5,000 seedlings and are expected to be harvested in December this year.

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"But of the 5,000 juvenile freshwater prawns, it will only have a 65 percent survival rate or only 3,250 will survive though we could still have a net income of P14,456," Dejarme said during the launching of the "Technology Business Café" program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)- Northern Mindanao on Thursday at the VIP Hotel.

Dejarme said the project only started this month, funded by the DOST with

P696,938. The juvenile shrimps are stored at MSU-Naawan.

He said the technologies for giant freshwater prawn culture at the project sites have been developed for broader application in the Philippines.

A kilo of freshwater shrimp currently costs around P350 in Cagayan de Oro while in Manila, it costs P750.

Dejarme said the opportunities for freshwater shrimps culture is huge though he emphasized there is a need to strengthen the capacity of organizations in conducting adaptive research.

"If this pilot testing will be successful, small scale entrepreneurs will have the chance to make it big since fresh water prawns, just like the tiger prawns, are now being sold at much higher price," he said.

During the launching of the "Technology Business Café" program, Dejarme shared how they came up with the technology and present the huge opportunities that await those who are interested to venture into the business.

Alfonso P. Alamban, regional director of DOST-Northern Mindanao, said the "Technology Business Café" is a venue that aims to disseminate science and technology information and to promote investments into technologies for commercialization.

He said the DOST came up with the program to enhance economic development through the application of science and technology in business enterprises. (Nicole J. Managbanag)