Bicol hopes to get good share in DA’s upcoming community fish landing projects

February 16, 2015 2:08 pm 

By Danny O. Calleja

PILI, Camarines Sur, Feb. 15 (PNA) – Prospective recipients of the multimillion-peso project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) intended to ease the life difficulties confronting the country’s fishery sector are yet to be known, but Bicol hopes to get a good share from it.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala recently announced the project consist of 252 Community Fish Landing Centers (CFLCs) to be established in strategic areas nationwide to improve the socio-economic conditions of fisherfolk communities with high poverty incidence.

Alcala said the project, which will be implemented under the Targeted Actions to Reduce Poverty and Generate Economic Transformation (TARGET) program of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), is part of the government’s commitment to deliver precise interventions and promote inclusive growth in the fishery sector.

TARGET is the umbrella program of the BFAR that is composed of comprehensive livelihood packages — including resource enhancement, management and protection, post-harvest and marketing support, provision of aquaculture inputs and other farm implements for fish/seaweeds, mussel, oyster, and other shellfish farming to include aquasilviculture and fish cage culture.

It also has a component for the provision of fishing boat, motor engine and other fishing gears to marginal fishermen and the deployment to targeted localities of highly trained BFAR personnel who would serve as field livelihood development technicians to give assistance to the beneficiaries and monitor the progress of program implementation.

Dennis del Socorro, the BFAR regional director for Bicol based here, over the weekend said the TARGET program was conceptualized by the bureau in response to the need to uplift the lives of fishermen who composed the country’s fishery sector — one of the most important pillars of the nation’s economy.

Although the sector generated 4.86 million metric tons of fish and other aquatic products valued at Php237.7 billion in 2012, Del Socorro lamented that it remains at the top of the poverty list of the National Statistics Coordination Board with 39.1-percent poverty incidence rate followed by farmers at 35.8 percent as of the same year.

With these CFLCs, the DA, through BFAR, is targeting to reduce fisheries post-harvest losses from 25 percent to 18 percent or even lower, he explained.

The facilities, each costing Php2.85 million, will house post-harvest equipment and tools that will enable fisherfolk to preserve the good quality of their fish and fishery products, which they could sell for a higher price.

Local consumers, according to Alcala, will also benefit from it as they will have better access to safe and quality fishery commodities.

The CFLCs will also be opened as venues for skills training on disaster-resilient fisheries-based livelihoods and resource management such as monitoring fish catch and stock assessment.

BFAR National Director Asis Perez has said that the bureau made use of its own fisherfolk database and the Registry System for Basic Sector in Agriculture of the Department of Budget and Management with the assistance of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) in determining the sites where the CFLCS will be established.

Based on NAPC’s recommendation, Perez said the areas were assessed based on poverty incidence determined through the municipal density, fish production, number of registered fisherfolk and number of existing fish ports and fish landing areas.

Upon completion, Perez said, the CFLCs will be operated by the local government units and later on by fisherfolk cooperatives.

Del Socorro said his office was yet to be officially informed of the selected sites in the country for these facilities but he expressed hope that Bicol will be given a good share as most fishing communities in the region qualifies as recipients, given the high regional poverty incidence.

The Philippine Statistical Authority measured Bicol’s poverty rate at over 36 percent based on its 2012 Family Income and Expenditure Surveys.

On the other hand, the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which recorded the region’s total number of households in 2011 at 775,014, identified 59.5 percent or 461,242 of them as poor.

This poverty incidence that involves most of the region’s fisherfolk stands behind the fact that fishery is among the biggest contributors to the regional agricultural performance, accounting to 2.5 percent, which is bigger than the crop sectors’ 2.0 percent, according to Del Socorro. (PNA)

CTB/FGS/DOC/CBD/SSC

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