DA sees need to import 60,000 MT of fish in Q1

Published January 19, 2022, 11:30 AM

by MB Business

Agriculture Secretary William Dar signed the Certificate of Necessity to Import (CNI) 60,000 metric tons (MT) of small pelagic fish to plug projected fish supply shortfall in the first quarter of 2022.

The CNI comes at the heels of significant damage to the fisheries subsector in the wake of Typhoon Odette and reduced fish production due to the closed fishing season.

Delivering updates on the Department of Agriculture (DA) interventions to mitigate agricultural damage from Typhoon Odette during the Laging Handa Public Briefing on January 18 in PTV 4, Secretary Dar belied misconceptions of sufficient fish stocks for the coming quarter. “We are working on the DA-BFAR’s projection of a 119k-MT fish supply deficiency this quarter,” he said.

“We are bolstering the aquaculture sector to close gaps in fish production and sustainably improve our catch,” he added.

Fisheries remains one of the biggest-hit subsectors in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette, logging around P4 billion in total value loss and damage.

The DA also foresees spikes in fisheries and aquaculture input costs, as global prices of petroleum and fish feed inch upwards.

“We are, as always, striking the crucial balance to ensure fish security among consumers while coming to the aid of our fish producers,” Secretary Dar said.

The DA has allotted P 50 million (M) of its P 1B Quick Response Fund post-Odette for the distribution of marine diesel/gasoline engines, the fabrication of durable fiberglass fishing boats, and the distribution of fisheries relief goods such as canned tuna, sardines, and frozen fish. The amount adds to the P 35M-worth of fisheries interventions already distributed in the most affected region.

The CNI is seen as a means to stem the high prices of fish, which are hurting swathes of the Filipino population obtaining their protein sources from small pelagic fish such as galunggong (round scad), sardines, and mackerel.

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