DA seeks $200-M funding from World Bank for development of fishing industry

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 1) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is aiming to secure a $200-million loan from the World Bank for a key project that would help protect and develop the country’s fishing industry.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a statement on Monday that the department’s Fisheries and Coastal Resiliency (FishCoRe) “would directly contribute” to ensure food security as the country rebounds from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The loan will also support the modernization of other sectors, including capture fisheries and aquaculture, through the injection of technical support and capital, the DA said.

The department said the project also aims to address weaknesses in the value chain in order to improve fishery resources, as well as increase income and uplift lives of fisherfolk and coastal communities.

The DA noted that FishCoRe has many components, including fisheries coastal areas resiliency planning; fisheries and coastal resilient resource management; modern and resilient livelihood investments; and project management and coordination; and monitoring and evaluation.

It said 12 Fisheries Management Areas (FMA) will benefit from the project, as established through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in 2019. These include major fishing grounds, lakes, bays, gulfs, and the like.

In a letter addressed to Dar, World Bank Country Director Achim Fock showed his support for the project.

The agriculture chief said he has already pushed for the fast-tracking of completion of requirements to have the loan approved by June 2021.

The BFAR is tasked to submit a feasibility study on November 2020 and, upon the loan’s approval, will implement the project in October 2021.