AGRICULTURE SECRETARY Emmanuel F. Piñol said on Thursday that his department aims to establish ice-making facilities in 91 fishing centers nationwide by March, utilizing P282.5 million from the Agriculture and Fisheries Machinery and Equipment (AFME) loan program.
“Under the loan program intended for the fishing communities, fishermen’s groups are allowed to choose the brand, type and capacity of the ice-making facility that they need. The DA-ACPC will release through a local bank conduit the amount needed for the purchase of the ice-making equipment and an initial working capital,” Mr. Piñol said.
Mr. Piñol said that the following areas are expected to get P10 million worth of loans each by the first quarter of 2019: Sipalay City, Negros Occidental; Ubay, Bohol; Pasil, Cebu City; San Vicente, Northern Samar; Mapanas, Northern Samar; Aparri, Cagayan; Sta. Ana, Cagayan; Masinloc, Zambales; Dingalan, Aurora; Dinahican, Infanta, Quezon, Estancia, Iloilo; Sagay City, Negros Occidental; Sipalay City, Negros Occidental; Ubay, Bohol; Pasil, Cebu City; San Vicente, Northern Samar; Mapanas, Northern Samar; Tarangnan, Western Samar; Borongan, Eastern Samar; Limasawa, Southern Leyte; Panabo City Mariculture Park; and Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat,
Lebak, Sultan Kudarat will meanwhile receive funding of P8 million.
The establishment of ice-making facilities is part of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) efforts to avoid the loss of about 40% of the country’s daily fish catch due to spoilage.
Mr. Piñol said that other fishing grounds such as Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi and Walled City, Jolo, Sulu, will also get ice making facilities.
According to Mr. Piñol, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has identified these areas with organized fishermen’s groups.
“All other areas interested in acquiring these ice-making facilities are advised to coordinate with the nearest BFAR office in your area,” Mr. Piñol said. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio