Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

DA chief backs PFDA ports upgrade to lower food cost, boost income

Author: DA-AFID | 23 April 2024

The Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) will require a budget of P30.1 billion to finance a four-year upgrade of over a dozen regional and subregional seaports into deep-water ports as part of the Department of Agriculture’s broader vision of transforming these facilities into agri-logistics hubs across the archipelago.

Aside from deepening access channels to the ports to accommodate fully-laden Panamax vessels, the PFDA’s multi-year development plan also includes building silos, cold storage, agricultural processing areas, cargo handling facilities, quays, shipyards, fuel depots, and pipelines.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr., who chairs the PFDA board, recently met PFDA’s management team to discuss the corporation’s development plans. He supports PFDA’s  goal of using the regional ports to become entry and exit points for agricultural items to reduce the cost of transporting farm and fishery products across the islands.

In a meeting with the Federation of Free Farmers, the agri chief stressed the need to address the transport and distribution of goods from areas where they are abundantly produced to where demand is high. This includes transporting inputs to areas they are most needed to reduce food production cost. In line with this, he said DA’s four-year plan includes building seaports and possibly a so-called “food train.”

By reducing food production and distribution costs, Sec. Tiu Laurel believes it would substantially increase farmers’ and fishermen’s incomes even as they result in lower food prices. 

Based on the initial financing requirement of developing 18 ports, the PFDA will need P6.04 billion this year and P24.08 billion next year.

Of the 2024 budget, P4.2 billion will be for the development of seven regional ports— four fish ports in Davao, General Santos, Iloilo and Zamboanga, and the three deep water ports in Cebu, Palawan and Surigao City. The balance will be for subports with deep water ports of 3 – 5 hectares.

The 11 subports identified for development by PFDA are those in Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte; Pagudpud, llocos Norte; Bongao, Tawi-Tawi; San Jose, Occidental Mindoro; Cataingan, Masbate; Infanta, Quezon; Pantao, Albay; Kalmansig, Sultan Kudarat; Bataan; Mati City, Davao Oriental; and Cadiz, Negros. ### (photo shows Sec. Tiu Laurel during the inspection of the iloilo Fish Port Complex on April 5, 2024)

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