IMPROVING the performance of the fisheries sector will hinge on implementing projects to raise the output of aquaculture produce like milkfish (bangus), tilapia and shrimp, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.
Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) must take the initiative to sustainably develop the aquaculture sector.
He added that seaweed and shellfish also require attention.
“While the fisheries sector currently contributes about 17% to 18% to the gross domestic product (GDP) in agriculture, it could further increase if programs and projects are efficiently and effectively implemented to unleash the sector’s potential,” Mr. Dar said during the inauguration of BFAR’s new headquarters on July 21.
“It is not just about improving productivity, but to see to it that supply is abundant and properly mobilized during the lean months and closed fishing season to temper fish prices and food inflation,” he added.
Mr. Dar said the government should encourage the commercial fisheries industry to modernize their operations.
“We have requested the Development Bank of the Philippines and Land Bank of the Philippines to provide commercial fishing operators a credit window that will enable them to replace old vessels and acquire new ones,” Mr. Dar said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority estimates that fisheries production declined 0.8% year on year to 978,618 metric tons in the first quarter due to the weak performance of the commercial and municipal fisheries.
Overall agricultural production for the quarter fell 3.3%. The DA’s target for 2021 is 2.5% growth. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave