DA close to bagging $200-M loan for FishCoRe


The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Wednesday said it is close to securing a $200-million (P10 billion) loan from the World Bank to bankroll a 7-year project that seeks to improve the country’s fisheries production.

The DA said it is in the final stages of talks with the World Bank for the Fisheries and Coastal Resiliency (FishCoRe), a project that would benefit at least 500,000 fishermen and stakeholders nationwide.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), an attached agency of the DA, will be the main implementing agency for the FishCoRe Project, which is expected to commence early next year.

The DA said the project seeks to support the scaling-up and modernization of the country’s capture fisheries and aquaculture industry. Under the project, the government will provide target-beneficiaries with 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 DA-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 last October 25.

“We believe that this endeavor would help us propel faster towards attaining the Department’s vision of a food-secure and resilient Philippines with empowered and prosperous farmers and fisherfolk.”

The DA said the key growth targets of the 7-year project are: 3-percent increase, respectively, in household income, and in value-added fishery commodities; 5 percent reduction in postharvest losses; and 1- to 5-percent reduction in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing incidences.

“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,” Dar said.

The coastal waters covered under FMA 6 are off the West Philippine Sea including Pagudpud Bay, Subic Bay, Manila Bay to Lubang Island while FMA 9 covers the coastal and marine waters in Bohol Sea, Panguil Bay, Iligan Bay, Gingoog Bay, Butuan Bay, and Sogod Bay.

The DA-BFAR has divided the Philippine archipelago into 12 FMAs, where it would implement area-specific policies and initiatives to sustainably manage fishery resources through a science-based and participatory governance framework.

“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,” the agriculture chief said.

The DA said the World Bank has been supportive of the FishCoRe 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,” WB Country Director Achim Fock said in a previous letter to Dar.

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