30 June 2011. The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry in its 16th Grand Chamber Awards Night, bestowed the Grand Chamber Beyond Boundaries Awards for International Industry to Mr. Rodrigo E. Rivera, Sr.
With the year's theme of "Business Beyond Boundaries", the prestigious organization recognized the various activities, strategies, and innovations that Mr. Rivera has realized for its fishing company to grow and overcome difficulties facing the local fishing industry.
Given the potential of the fishing industry in South Cotabato, particularly in General Santos City, Mr. Rivera established RD Fishing Industry Inc. in 1983 starting off with eleven (11) medium-sized purse seiners, and a few support light- and carrier- boats. With a daily combined fish hold capacity of 60-100 GRT, RDFI initially operates within the fishing grounds of the Philippines and Indonesia.
Though its deep-sea fishing business growing in an exponential rate, Mr. Rivera foresees the limitation of its fishing ground and the impending expiration of the Philippine-Indonesia bilateral agreement that allows Philippine vessels to fish in Indonesia waters, as well as, the threat of a moratorium on international fishing in some areas in the Pacific Region. In view of this, Mr. Rivera established a Deep Sea Fishing License in Bitung, Indonesia in 1987 to ensure continuing fishing activity in Indonesia waters. This business development initiated by Mr. Rivera was emulated by other local businessmen that resulted to the establishment of a regional cooperation known as the East Asian Grown Area (EAGA) comprising of Mindanao, Sulawesi, and Sarawak, Sabah. In addition, Mr. Rivera further established a local deep-sea fishing company and tuna cannery in Madang, Papua New Guinea (PNG) – making available the rich marine resources in Bismarck Sea. A significant amount of investment was infused to establish these business ventures considering the inherit problems of the place, i.e., poor infrastructure and limited pool of skilled workers.
The company made innovative approaches to sustain operation and profitability:
- Establishment of its own wharves and refuelling stations
- Establishment of auxiliary support business, i.e., ship-building and –repair
- Establishment of (tuna) fish processing plant – extending business to finished goods manufacturing
- Partnerships between foreign fishing companies from Indonesia and Taiwan – enabling exchanges of technology and sharing of resources to strengthen the company’s business
- Compliance with local and foreign standards and certifications to ensure quality services and products are rendered to customers, as well as, to nurture good relationship with partners and suppliers
- Establishment of a reward system for employees and workers to promote efficiency in the workplace
- Appointment of chaplains on every vessels to guide and inspire crew members in their whole voyage out at sea
As the fishing industry becomes more competitive with the entry of new players, restrictions on fishing resources and methodology, technology advancements, environmental and climate change, the company has laid out the following short- and medium-term plans:
- Ship modernization
- Shift to non-fad fishing method
- Support to PNG Government in the establishment of the Pacific Marine Park to bolster the fishing industry in Papua New Guinea
- Expansion to both EU and US markets
- Provide increase production capacity for manufacturing and processing products
- Diversify into agri-business industries.