Agriculture and Fishery

  • Agriculture

Bongao has a total agricultural land of 4,651.6 hectares located at Sanga-Sanga Island, mainland Tawi-Tawi and are planted with coconut, cassava, fruits and vegetables. Below is a table of agricultural products and volume of production showing that agricultural production is limited to the usual basic needs of the farmers in terms of the types of products and volume produced.

Table 1. Types of Agricultural Products and Volume of Production, Bongao, Tawi-Tawi

(Source: DAF Tawi-Tawi)

Agricultural Products

Production (M.T)

Cassava 1, 278
Assorted Vegetables 26,365
Assorted Fruits 769

Besides coconut as permanent crop, cassava is planted in most of the farms or even in the backyard of every home in Bongao. Other crops planted in the farms are corn, assorted vegetables and fruit trees, bananas for family consumption and commercial purposes.

Most farmers use the traditional techniques in developing their farms. These methods provide them (the farmers) with meager farm outputs that could hardly sustain the basic needs of the family.

Rice is only planted in areas where supply of water is available and abundant.

Table 2. Type of Agricultural Commodities, Area Planted, Volume of Production and Farmers Served, Municipality of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, 2003

(Source: DAF Annual Report, 2003)

Commodities Area Planted (Has.) Production (MT) Farmers Served
Rice 116 139 113
Corn 43 21 60
Cassava 3,350 30,150 1,105
Vegetables 6 150 173
Fruit Trees 178 605 204
Banana 119 595 91

In 1991, more than 47% of the farms consist of less than 3 hectares. Less than 35% of the farms consist of more than 3 hectares.

Table 3. Percent of Farms by Size of Farms, 1980 and 1991, Bongao, Tawi-Tawi

Size of Farm Farms
1980 1991
ALL FARMS 780 2,399
Under 0.500 has. 0.00 9.30
0.500-0.999 has. 1.54 7.59
1.000-2.999 has. 28.46 47.89
3.000-4.999 has. 20.13 23.51
5.000-7.000 has. 28.46 7.17
7.001-9.999 has. 7.56 1.58
10.000 and over 13.85 2.96

In 1980, 66% of the farms are planted with permanent crops, only 29% with temporary crops and 3.82% woodland and forest. However, in 1991, 84% of the farms have permanent crops, and only 14% with temporary crops.

Table 4. Number of Farms and Percent of Farm Area by Land Utilization, 1980 and 1991

Land Utilization Farms
1980 1991
No. Area No. Area
ALL FARMS 780 4,321 2,399 6,467
Under temporary Crops 654 29.44 850 14.54
Under permanent Crops 672 66.56 1,756 84.18
Temporarily Fallow 1 0.02 0.00
Meadows and Pastures 4 0.16 51 0.79
Woodland and Forest 65 3.82 6 0.09
Other lands (Includes Home lot) 0.0 24 0.37

70% of the farmers own the farms they cultivate while 17% are tenants. This is a replica of the source of living among the families. Those who have other sources of income own 17% of the agricultural lands that they have tenants to maintain the productivity of their farms.

Table 5. Number of Farms and Percent of Farm Area by Tenure of Farm/Farm Parcel, 1980 and 1991


Tenure of Farm/Farm Parcels FARM
No. Area
Farms Operated Under 1 Form of Tenure
Owned 765 99.12
Tenanted 14 0.62
Rent-Free 1 0.28
Other Forms 0.00
ALL TENURE TYPE 2,399 6,467
Farms Operated Under 1 Form of Tenure
Owned 1,637 69.61
Tenanted 232 17.43
Leased 20 0.19
Rent-Free 292 3.90
Other Forms 42 0.60
Farms Operated Under More than 1 Form of Tenure
Fully owned/Ownerlike Possession/Tenanted 40 2.57
Fully owned/Ownerlike Possession/Leased 0.00
Other combination of Tenures 136 5.69

Most farmers till their own agricultural lands using traditional methods of farming producing meager yields not enough for the basic needs of the family. Besides, absence of post harvest facilities like drier, farm-to-market roads, designated area to sell farm products in the barangays, and storage facilities makes the situation more difficult for the small-scale farmers to produce quality farm outputs. Lack of capital deprives them from buying necessary farm inputs also.

  • Fishery

70% of the total supply of seaweeds in the country comes from Tawi-Tawi. This is because Tawi-Tawi waters are suitable for seaweeds farming and the industry has a minimum capital requirement that ready capitalists could easily provide to small-scale seaweeds farmers. Even people from other parts of the country who are not productive come down to Tawi-Tawi and get involved in seaweeds farming. Thus seaweeds farming has been the most common livelihood among the people of Tawi-Tawi besides fishing.

However, in the case of Bongao, only few are engaged in seaweeds farming as compared with other municipalities in the province where seaweeds thrive abundantly in coastal areas.

In fishery production, Bongao has rich fishing ground with the following major commercial species:

Fish: Major commercial Species

  1. Tuna
  2. Grass Fish
  3. Flying Fish
  4. Siganid

MinorSea Products other than fish:

  1. Lobster
  2. Blue Crab
  3. Octopus
  4. Spider Shell
  5. Sea Mantis

The usual fishing methods used are bagnet and gillnet. The total catch per year is at an average of 2,302.25 metric tones.

Bongao’s major fish landing ports are at Chinese Pier and Public Market.

  • Aqua Culture

Table 6. Culture System Management, Species, Total Area Used and Total Production, 2002 , Municipality of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi

Culture System Management Species Actual Data 2002
Area (M) Total Production (MT)
1. Brackish Water Fishpond Bangus 3 1,000
2. Marine Fish Cage Grouper 0.021 31.50
3. Seaweeds Cottonie 730.5 6,723.25

Livestock and Poultry

Cows, goats and carabaos are the most common livestock among the farmers and residents of Bongao. More goats however, are raised in comparison to carabaos and cows.

Chicken and ducks are likewise raised for both personal consumption commercial purposes. Whenever these fowls weigh more than a kilo, these could be sold in the market as source of income for the family. Likewise, the eggs could be sold besides for home consumption.

Table 7. Type of Livestock and Poultry and Total Production, 2001, Municipality of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi

Livestock Production (MT) CY 2001
Cattle 1,268
Goat 3,129
Carabao 35
Chicken 24,052
Duck 1,140
Swine 350

Most of the livestock and poultry animals are for backyard breeding only. Cattle and carabaos are used for farming. Also, cattle as well as goats are reserved for family need during death, baptism and weddings.

Raising native chicken in the backyard needs no extra care. They are only kept free to look for their own food at daytime and have place for them to rest at night. These fowls could provide eggs and meat for the family. They could also be sold for other needs.

Table 8. Type of Livestock and Poultry According to Purpose, Municipality of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi

(Source: DAF Tawi-Tawi)

Livestock/Poultry Backyard Commercial


Carabao 35 8
Cattle 1,268 215
Horse 3 1
Goat/Sheep 3,129 202
Hog 350
Dog 880
Chicken 24,052 1,810
Duck 1,140 34
Turkey 7 1
Goose 5