MSU-Maguindanao and Crabs for Change Partner-Farmers Ink Agreement for Sustainable Crab Farming in Parang, Maguindanao

#MSUMagAt50 | The ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between MSU-Maguindanao and Crabs for Change Partner-Farmers, along with the ceremonial stocking of mangrove crab (Scylla serrata) crablets funded by the DOST-PCAAARD, was formally signed on June 3, 2024, at Brgy. Magsaysay, Parang, Maguindanao del Norte.

The “Crabs for Change: Transfer of Commercial-Scale Mangrove Crab Nursery And Grow-Out Technology Using Hatchery-Bred Crab Instars To Support the Livelihood Of Selected Former Combatants In Maguindanao”, a phase 2 project following the Mangrove Crab Hatchery-Nursery Techno-Transfer Project, aimed to support the livelihood of selected former combatants in Maguindanao through sustainable crab farming. Primarily, the agreement seeks to facilitate the transfer of commercial-scale mangrove crab nursery and grow-out technology using hatchery-bred crab instars. This technology transfer is coupled with comprehensive capacity-building efforts, providing technical support and training to partner-farmers to enhance their skills in developing and operating mangrove crab nurseries. It also includes the provision of necessary production inputs for the nursery phase and assistance in marketing the produced crablets, ensuring the financial viability of the farms. The project sites for this crab farming initiative are in three locations: Three (3) in Brgy. Magsaysay, Parang, Maguindanao; two (2) in Simuay Seashore, Sultan Mastura; and one (1) in Cotabato City.

Dr. Ramjie Y. Odin, the project leader for the Crabs for Change project, conveyed that this is the only completed hatchery project under Duterte’s administration. He stated that they are continuously refining and improving crab farming technology to support production. This project supports the hatchery by ensuring there are buyers, starting with the initial five nursery farmers. Now, with nursery farmers producing small crabs for the grow-out farmers, continuous industry development in Maguindanao, especially in Parang, can be ensured. “Lahat po ng ito ay aligned sa advocacy at mandato ng MSU-Maguindanao na dalhin ang MSU-Maguindanao sa mga komunidad. Maging partner ng MSU-Maguindanao ang ating komunidad sa pagtaguyod ng pagbabago at kaayusan sa ating bayan,” he concluded.

Chancellor Bai Hejira Nefertiti M. Limbona, represented by VCRE Dr. Raquel Santiago-Arenas, expressed gratitude for the strong partnership with the Municipality of Parang, headed by Mayor Cahar P. Ibay. They successfully established the first Mangrove Crab Hatchery in BARMM and now have grow-out nurseries. She mentioned that, as Mayor Ibay highlighted, this is indeed a shared responsibility, and their projects would not succeed without the support of the LGU, communities, and farmers. MSU-Maguindanao is always ready to provide service through research and extension services, capacity building in technical skills, especially in agriculture, fisheries, and forestry, which are their flagship programs. “Gusto po natin na palawigin itong tinatawag natin na From Arms to Farms. “Hindi na baril ang hinahawakan natin, magsasaka na tayo so in this case, King Crab na tayo. And it is really historical,” she added.

Hon. Cahar P. Ibay, Mayor of Parang, Maguindanao del Norte, acknowledged that the project by Dr. Ramjie was for all of them. From the beginning, he had supported the project to ensure its success. As mayor, while he might not be able to provide for their daily needs, it was his mandate to find ways to improve their quality of life. Therefore, they embraced all programs that could help improve their livelihood. He assured them that he would do his best, and together they would strive for success. “We are very much thankful and we are very much in support of sa mga ganitong project. Kami po ni Chairman, kami po sa munisipyo, we are very much thankful and very much in support of this project.”

Mr. Lauban K. Pula, one of the partner-farmers, thanked the DOST and MSU-Maguindanao for the numerous forms of livelihood assistance they have provided. He also extended his thanks to the beloved mayor for his support of the project.

Present were Brgy. Chairman Alonto Dicay and Municipal Councilor Agedil Abdulrahman; the Partner-Farmers, Jordan N. Kudarat, Tony A. Eskak, Al-Basher P. Usman, Mohammad A. Laguiawan; and from MSU-Maguindanao, including VCRE Dr. Raquel D. Santiago-Arenas, VCPD Dr. Arceli Naraga, Dr. Naima G. Pendi, the Dean of College of Fisheries, and other MSU officials.