CDA Region IV-B EO

Rising Tides: The Journey of Palawan Aqua-Agri Venture Agriculture Cooperative (PAAVACO)

Puerto Princesa City – Nestled in the vibrant community of Purok Sandiwa, Tiniguiban, Palawan Aqua-Agri Venture Agriculture Cooperative (PAAVACO) embodies the spirit of resilience and the power of collective effort. From humble beginnings as the Puerto Princesa Fish Cage Operators in 2018, this group has morphed into a flourishing cooperative, showcasing the transformative power of unity and collaboration.

The story of PAAVACO truly took off amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. With global uncertainty at its peak, the fish cage operators recognized the crucial need for mutual support. Under the dynamic leadership of Ms. Adelfa D. Zamoranos, they formalized their efforts, officially registering as a cooperative on September 6, 2023, with the invaluable assistance of the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA). Starting with 19 dedicated members and an initial capital of ₱30,000, they embarked on a journey of growth and success.

At the heart of PAAVACO’s operations are their fish cages and ponds, where they meticulously cultivate Bangus (milkfish) fingerlings. Over a nurturing period of 4 to 6 months, these fingerlings mature, culminating in a bountiful harvest of up to one ton of Bangus. Market prices for their fish range from ₱165 to ₱215 per kilo, depending on quality and classification, ensuring a steady stream of income for the cooperative.

Diversification has been a key strategy for the cooperative. Beyond fresh Bangus, they offer value-added products like boneless Bangus and smoked fish, each fetching ₱330 per kilo. These products not only enhance their market presence but also secure additional revenue for their members. Significant support from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has been instrumental in cooperatives’ success. BFAR provided essential resources, including freezers, smoked fish equipment, and fish cages, as well as the initial fry that jumpstarted thier operations.

Today, PAAVACO has grown to 44 members and boasts total assets worth ₱1.5 million. The cooperative continues to innovate, constantly exploring new initiatives to expand their market reach. One of their innovative strategies involves purchasing Bangus products from their members for centralized marketing, ensuring that profits flow directly back to the cooperative community. PAAVACO’s transformation from a small group of fish cage operators into a robust cooperative is a testament to what can be achieved when a community unites towards common goals. As they continue to expand their market and improve their operations, PAAVACO stands as a beacon of resilience, innovation, and the enduring strength of cooperative efforts.