Would you believe that 10m x 10m demo plot for oyster culture in Silay City, Negros Occidental put up in the early 90s has expanded to 4 hectares and is now the source of livelihood for 80 coastal families?
Yes, and the association that put up the project in 1991 was recently given an award for undertaking environmental conservation and creating livelihood opportunities by the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau of the DENR.
The award-winning group is the Balaring Mangrove Planters Association (BAMPA) composed of 35 members who put up a 50-hectare mangrove forestation project in 1991. The BAMPA members planted mangrove species as a community project under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program-Integrated Social Forestry (CARP-ISF) program of the DENR.
Shortly after the implementation of the project, a 10m x 10m demo plot for culturing oysters was put up. It was so successful that the demo plot was soon expanded to cover four hectares. Today, the oyster project is benefiting some 80 families who derive income from raising oysters.
Aside from oysters, 10 other shell species are being cultured. And Balaring has become a destination for tourists who love oysters and other shells. The barangay has come up with “Pagatpat Festival” where visitors can enjoy partaking of the edible shells. As a result, some enterprising residents have put up eateries specializing in oysters and other sea foods along the coastal area.