DA set to pursue P10-B World Bank-funded ‘blue’ resources project 

Author: DA Communications Group | 27 October 2021

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is in the final stage of getting the approval to implement the Fisheries and Coastal Resiliency (FishCoRe) Project worth $200 million (P10 billion) funded by the World Bank (WB).

Seen to benefit 500,000 fisherfolk and stakeholders in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, the seven-year project is the first WB project to be implemented with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) to harness the so-called “blue economy.”

It aims to support the scaling-up and modernization of the Philippine capture fisheries and aquaculture industry, through the provision of 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, on October 25, 2021.

“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,” he added.

Key growth targets envisioned for the project are:  three percent increase, respectively, in household income, and in value-added fishery commodities; five percent reduction in post-harvest losses; and one to five percent reduction in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing incidences.

Secretary Dar said that 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.

The coastal waters covered under FMA 6 are off the West Philippine Sea including Pagudpud Bay, Subic Bay, Manila Bay to Lubang Island.

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,” said the DA chief.

The World Bank has been supportive of the project since negotiations started in early 2020.

In a previous letter to Secretary Dar, WB Country Director Achim Fock said: “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.”

The DA-BFAR will be the main implementing agency for the FishCoRe Project, which is expected to commence early next year. ### (Rita dela Cruz, DA StratComms)

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