Philippine Tuna Producers On Upswing

In the past couple of years, General Santos City in The Philippines' Mindanao region has experienced an upsurge in the number of tuna producers. There were 85 tuna-based food producers in the city in 2007, up from 62 in 2006. Nineteen of these businesses are licensed exporters, mainly to the United States, Hong Kong and Japan.

The industry, which provided more than 61,000 jobs in 2007, has total revenue of almost US$40 million. Tuna exports from General Santos City to the U.S. market total US$35 million, a 38 percent increase from 2006, according to the Department of Trade and Industry.

General Santos Mayor Pedro Acharon Jr. credited the industry's productivity to the creativity of the local business owners in inventing new tuna-based products and an increase in the tuna supply over the past four years.

Nelly Nita Dillera, chief of Central Mindanao Department of Trade and Industry, commented that General Santos City has provided a successful model for central government-promoted "one town one product" program.

Dillera credited the industryâ??s growth to the availability of supporting facilities, like Gensan Fish Port Complex, the second largest automated port in the Philippines and global perception of tuna as a healthier option to other proteins. Dillera also cited the success of General Santos Cityâ??s stature in the international seafood arena.


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