SMC to develop mangrove industry in Bulacan to address flooding, boost livelihood

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San Miguel Corporation said Wednesday it has begun a project to plant thousands of mangroves in a coastal area in Hagonoy, Bulacan. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 29) — A town north of Manila will stand to benefit from a crab mangrove industry that will be put up in a 10-hectare mangrove plantation, according to a diversified conglomerate.

San Miguel Corporation President and COO Ramon Ang said the goal is to plant mangroves in priority areas like Hagonoy, Bulacan as identified by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

“We are seeding 100,000 mud crabs monthly at Hagonoy’s mangrove plantation area to help boost the country’s mud crab production,” Ang said in a statement.

The project comes ahead of its construction on an envisioned world-class international airport in Bulacan.

“These flood mitigation measures are all integral to airport development. It’s very important to address these environmental concerns before investing over ₱700 billion for the airport,” Ang said.

SMC's airport project is expected to feature four parallel runways, a world-class terminal, and other features. It can also accommodate up to 100 million passengers yearly.

According to Bulakan, Bulacan’s municipal agriculturist Elizabeth Salvador, mangroves planted beside rivers hold soil and water, preventing flooding from happening.

Meanwhile, the mud crab project aims to boost the livelihood of locals.

“These mangrove areas are a good breeding ground for mud crabs and will provide the local government unit of Hagonoy, fishermen, local entrepreneurs, and rural communities with a sustainable source of income given the mud crabs' high-income potential,” Ang said.

Salvador also told CNN Philippines on Thursday that based on their observation, local fisherfolks are able to grow the mud crabs from two to three weeks. She added that these are ready for harvest by then, and are able to generate a good global price.

SMC said in a statement that 8,000 of the 25,000 mangroves were planted in three hectares in Hagonoy’s Barangay Tibaguin on July 29. The rest is expected to be completed within the year.