Mangrove crab subproject to uplift lives of fisherfolk families in Rizal, Roxas, Palawan
“The purpose of this livelihood is to help our local fisherfolks. Before, this was just on paper. Now, we have the mangrove crab that we will feed, nurture, and sell to be able to contribute in the livelihood of our people.”
Grace Tabang, President of the Samahan ng Maliliit na Mangingisda ng Barangay Rizal (SMMBR), said when asked about how their alternative livelihood can bring change in the lives of each of their member-beneficiaries.
The SMMBR, the subproject’s proponent group whose members’ main source of income is fishing, particularly aims to improve their current socio-economic situation. They have a total of 50 members, which would mean 50 fisherfolk households, composed of at least five to six persons, are currently earning around P10,000 to P20,000 monthly depending on their catch of fish.
These members were divided into five groups with ten members that are respectively managing five separate mangrove crab nurseries measuring half a hectare each.
Tabang added that, “Once we are able to sell our mangrove crabs, we will be able to provide additional income to our members. This will help fisherfolk families meet their needs. Maybe not all, but this is a big assistance for them to provide for their children’s needs, for their food and other must-haves.”
Monserat Bañez, one of the five group leaders, affirmed what Tabang said as she shared that she has also grandchildren who she sends to school and a husband who has a heart ailment and diabetes.
“All our members have families and this is, of course, additional help in sending our children and grandchildren to school. In my case, it also helps in buying my husband’s medicines which cost around P10,000 monthly,” Bañez shared.
Last June, the SMMBR harvested for the first time since they started their operation in March. They were able to sell 140 pieces of mangrove crabs, at P250 per kilo, from the original 4,000 crablets that they currently have.
Furthermore, the subproject also opened an opportunity for two senior citizens to have a livelihood. Medina Villanueva, a 75-year-old member of the SMMBR, and her husband take care of the one mangrove nursery and will be paid once the crabs have been sold.
“My husband and I stay here so we can watch the nursery all the time. Sometimes, we see random people and we let them know that they cannot just pass around here anymore because we have now mangrove crabs. We also stitch the net if we see rips here and there,” said Villanueva.
Likewise, the SMMBR recognizes the importance of protecting the environment, particularly their marine protected area (MPA), as part of sustaining their livelihood. Through training and other seminars conducted by the local government and the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), the association has become more equipped in the ways that they need to take to preserve their marine resources.
As a group, Tabang is also proud to share that they now have a more organized group. She maintains the significance of conducting regular meetings so that members can talk about the issues that came up in their business and properly solve it together.
“We know that this is a huge investment. This is why, on our part, we will try to do our best to make this successful,” said Tabang.
The Rizal Mangrove Crab Production is a P1.60 million-worth microenterprise funded by PRDP under its enterprise development (I-REAP) component and Global Environment Facility (GEF). ### (Leira Vic Colongon, DA-PRDP MIMAROPA RPCO InfoACE Unit)