DA seeks P10-B fund from WB for fisheries

Published October 27, 2021, 3:43 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is close to securing the approval for the Fisheries and Coastal Resiliency (FishCoRe), a P10-billion project to be funded by World Bank.

The project, which will run for seven years, is the first World Bank project to be implemented with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to harness the so-called “blue economy.”

FishCore is seen to benefit 500,000 fisherfolk and stakeholders in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

It will help in the scaling up and modernization of the Philippine capture fisheries and aquaculture industry, through the provision of technical support and innovation, access to modern and resilient fisheries infrastructure and post-harvest facilities, and promotion of efficient connectivity and product value addition, among other initiatives.

“We extend our appreciation to the World Bank for prioritizing the FishCoRe Project, as this has been seen as the BFAR’s medium- to long-term intervention to increase resiliency due to climate change and as a bounce-back strategy for the country’s ‘blue economy’ amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar during a virtual pre-appraisal mission wrap-up meeting with World Bank.

Key growth targets envisioned for the project are: three percent increase, respectively, in household income, and in value-added fishery commodities; five percent reduction in post-harvest losses; and one to five percent reduction in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing incidences.

Dar said that the project will be implemented in two Fisheries Management Areas (FMA 6 and 9), covering 11 regions and 24 provinces, with a total area of 32 million hectares of coastal and marine waters. The coastal waters covered under FMA 6 are off the West Philippine Sea including PagudpudBay, Subic Bay, ManilaBay to LubangIsland.

FMA 9 covers the coastal and marine waters in BoholSea, PanguilBay, IliganBay, GingoogBay, ButuanBay, and SogodBay.

“We are optimistic that the FishCoRe Project will be able to establish examples of good governance mechanisms, leading to better management of the ‘blue resources’ and aquaculture development in two FMAs,” said the DA chief.

The World Bank has been supportive of the project since negotiations started in early 2020.

“We fully support the goals of the FishCoRe Project to sustainably improve incomes of Filipino fisherfolk, and support resilient coastal communities through enhanced ecosystem management, productivity-enhancing technologies, aquaculture, reduced post-harvest losses, value-chain infrastructure, and related activities,” World Bank Country Director Achim Fock said in a previous letter to Dar.

The BFAR will be the main implementing agency for the FishCoRe Project, which is expected to commence early next year.