Sustaining Coastal Community Efforts Through Enhancement of Drying Fish (SUCCEED-F)
Tambuyog Development Center, Inc. (TDC) has been championing its advocacy work on empowering
small/marginal fisherfolk as key partners in promoting sustainable fisheries development throughout
the country for more than twenty years now. For a span of one year, work in Bantayan Is. on advocacy
and with the current partnership between Lutheran World Relief under the “Building Sustainable
Action for Fisherfolk Enhance Livelihood towards Resiliency (BUILD Safer), TDC has been a witness to
the high level of vulnerability of this island community.
The very high dependency on fishing as a source of livelihood that was discovered during Typhoon Haiyan was further highlighted during Typhoon Hagupit. When it struck Bantayan Island early in December 2014, it caused a halt to fishing activities due to moderate/strong winds and continuous rain. For a fisherfolk household, 5 days is too much of a burden to bear, especially since they are solely dependent on fishing. Similarly, the traditionally common fish drying activity which was expected to supplement the unproductive days during the typhoon, was also under threat because of the spoilage of fish due to continuous and excessive rain.
TDC responds to the recurring problem of loss of immediate cash income due to adverse weather
conditions by introducing technology and a facility for fish -drying. While the current BUILD SAFER project will enhance livelihood resiliency by increasing livelihood diversification and improving productivity, this project will also introduce the adoption of improved post-harvest and value-adding technology to increase knowledge and skills, as well as a facility and organizational systems to bring about more resilient livelihoods.
At the end of one year, some 200 fisherfolk in Bantayan Island will have gained access to appropriate fish drying technology and facilities, and enhanced their knowledge on dried fish product development and marketing. The project will also emphasize the participation of women fisherfolk since fish processing, trading and drying are predominantly female-driven sectors.
While we are restoring women’s livelihood, we are also preparing them to look at the possibility of
venturing into small scale business enterprises along their current livelihood activities for
As a small island in the typhoon belt, Bantayan is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. While the
center of the typhoon did not make landfall on Bantayan, the strong rains and winds of Typhoon Hagupit caused major damage to the area. The slow moving storm lashed the area with continuous heavy rains for five to seven days. The slow moving unique nature of this storm not only caused damage to local infrastructure but kept fisherfolk from their livelihoods for the length of the storm. The inability to harvest fish for food and for sale for this period of time caused significant hardship and highlighted the need to diversify livelihood activities.
Learning from Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, Local Government Units (LGUs) preemptively evacuated
islet and coastal dwellers as early as December 4. They were allowed to return to their houses on
December 8, after a five-day stretch with no income. There were around 4,000 families evacuated
during the period of December 4 to 5 in the Municipality of Bantayan alone.
Two to three days before Typhoon Hagupit’s expected landfall, fishing boats were safely dry-docked thus preventing further fishing activities, seaweeds were harvested even though
they were not yet at their optimal size, newly deployed fish traps had to be gathered to lessen damage, and some fish corrals were also dismantled to avoid destruction.
Simultaneously, the fish drying industry in Bantayan was also impaired during this time. Fisherfolk who normally practiced household-based drying could not process their catch anymore because the intensity of sunlight was not enough to dry their fish, resulting in spoilage. These events were not formally recorded in government statistics and remain invisible in most formal reports but were real and devastating costs to families already living at the bottom of the economic spectrum.
Normally, fisherfolk have difficulty accessing technology to improve production. Household income is
very erratic as a majority of these fisherfolk depend solely on their catch for their livelihoods. The walowalo phenomenon and kulyada also stops the fishing activities of fisherfolk. During the rainy season, traditional value addition activities such as drying of fish and lamayo production are also affected resulting in loss of productivity for fisherfolk households. A bountiful 1-2 day’s catch is often followed by long stretches of no catch or very small harvests. This situation is aggravated by the short shelf life of their produce and lack of supplemental livelihoods during weather disturbances.
This livelihood system of "no fishing-no income for the day" means that fisherfolk food and other
basic daily household expenses are taken out of the sales of the day. This situation makes recovery
even slower, thus increasing their vulnerability. Survey data suggests livelihood induced economic
distress among households in the project’s area of operation. In the aftermath of a typhoon, nearly
25 percent of all households have no source of income, and 30 percent have only one source of
income – suggesting income and livelihood diversification is sorely needed in program targeted
The proposed project will further build upon the goal of BUILD SAFER to recover and rebuild the livelihoods of the Haiyan affected fisherfolk who, during their period of recovery, were also affected by Typhoon Hagupit. SUCCEED-F focuses on providing access to post harvest technology -specifically fish drying and other value adding techniques - to increase productivity of fisherfolk households in Brgy. Sungko, Bantayan Island.
Barangay Sungko is a major contributor of dried fish on the whole of Bantayan Island. This dried fish, Danggit, is prized throughout the Philippines for its taste and texture. High quality Danggit from northern Cebu is especially prized throughout the Philippines and by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
One major component of this project is the construction of a sanitary drying facility with a 100 kilogram
capacity solar-powered mechanical dryer, complemented with a vacuum packaging machine and
solar-powered freezer. This facility will be managed by the Sungko Seaweeds Farmers Fisherfolk
Association (SSFFA). Currently, the association has 149 members, of which 105 are women, who are
actively engaged in household-level fish drying.
Currently, locally produced Danggit receives 300-400 kilos at the marketplace. Higher quality Danggit fetches 800-1000 pesos at regional marketplaces. Along with the facility, SUSWEFAS will set up systems for the operationalization of the facility and undergo a series of trainings on other value-adding technology and enterprise development, including promotion and marketing. Prior to these, a market study and value chain analysis (VCA) of dried fish will be completed to better understand the value chain.