AT LEAST 300 fisherfolk and operators in Davao Region are now allowed to borrow a maximum amount of P1 million each for fish cage farming.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Davao Director Fatma Idris told SunStar Davao Tuesday, June 4, that with this fund, they expect to increase fish production by 1,500 metric tons (MT) this year.
“This [credit program] is to reach out the fisherfolk na maka-avail ng livelihood assistance. We expect increase of five MT each cage but since nag-start ito ng late, we expect 1,500 MT nalang for this year. If we started in January, we could have a 3,000 MT increase of production,” Idris said.
Following the approval of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) proposal to use P3 billion from the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) to further develop fish cage farming in the country, the regional offices are tasked to assist prospective applicants to avail of the loan opportunity.
Idris said they are currently assisting more than 10 individuals in complying with their requirements and said that they are also encouraging fisherfolk associations or cooperatives to submit their project proposal.
Interested borrowers may apply by submitting their project proposal to their respective municipal or city agriculturist office and comply with the necessary requirements.
BFAR will endorse qualified applicants with feasible and viable project proposal and will be funded through the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).
In a Facebook post, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said fish cage farming has proven to be a capital intensive but highly profitable aquaculture project in the country today with operators earning profits as much as 100 percent on their investments.
“Several self-financed fish cage owners have established farms in the many coves of the country and are now producing hundreds of tons of Bangus everyday which are tastier than the inland and fishpond Bangus,” he added. (LHC)