The Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) has granted the first eel grow-out loan to Cacayan Aqua Ventures Inc. (CAVI), a start-up corporation currently in the process of expanding its eel farming and grow-out operations in Laguna.
The loan agreement signed by DBP with CAVI is a milestone development in the pioneering local eel industry which started in the 1960s, fizzled out in the 1970s, but has enjoyed a recent resurgence in an industry estimated to reach more than P290.24-million annually. This potential growth has been stimulated by increasing foreign demand from such countries as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China, a vibrant local MSME sector, and the country’s competitive advantages as a natural eel highway and tropical spot that allows for year-round growing. DBP’s loan grant paves the way for wider financial access for the aquaculture business, specifically the emerging local eel industry.
CAVI was established by long-time businessman and aquaculturist, Jimmy D. Cacayan. Typical operations include the consolidation of eel fry, for grow-out for four to five months until they reach a minimum marketable size of six inches, after which they are shipped abroad. As eels grow at different rates, there is need to continually stock on, and grow eel fry, in separate ponds. CAVI thus sought assistance from DBP to finance working capital for the expansion of its business, including the hiring of 30 additional regular employees.
As a member of the Integrated Growers and Traders (IGAT), the country’s sole registered professional association of local eel growers, Cacayan also advocates sustainable eel farming, combats eel fry smuggling, and supports IGAT’s vision to locally establish the whole value chain for eel industry including eel grow-out, processing, and marketing.
The eel industry continues to benefit both local and foreign stakeholders including fry consolidators, eel business employees, entrepreneurs, foreign eel consortia, the Department of Agriculture, Board of Incentives, Department of Trade and Industry, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the foreign market, and the finance sector. DBP’s support to the industry will promote widespread local employment, increase taxes paid to the National Government, contribute to a more productive agricultural sector, enhance global competitiveness, develop the countryside, and encourage inclusive growth.