FISHERMEN representing 100 communities nationwide are expected to purchase machinery and equipment at the World Trade Center, supported by P400 million worth of loans from the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said on Sunday that the loans will have a 2% interest rate, payable in eight years. The event is known as the Philippine Fisheries Expo 2018, to be held on Dec. 17-18.
“The lack of post-harvest facilities and equipment which would give them access to the market also serves as a serious limiting factor in the increase of fish catch as the fishermen would naturally limit the volume of their catch knowing they could not sell it,” Mr. Piñol said in a statement.
“The fishermen’s groups will then use the money to pay for the machinery and equipment that they have chosen during the Philippine Fisheries Expo, a system which allows them to pick the equipment brand of their choice and eliminates the long and tedious process of government procurement,” Mr. Piñol said.
The equipment includes ice-makers, refrigerated vans, filleting machinery and drying facilities, and fish cages.
According to Mr. Piñol, the loans will include working capital for the fishermen, payable in 8 years with a grace period to be determined by the DA — Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC).
Last week, Mr. Piñol said that DA aims to establish ice-making facilities in 91 fishing communities to reduce spoilage losses by 40%. The ice machine purchases will be backed by P282.5 million from the Agriculture and Fisheries Machinery and Equipment (AFME) Loaning Program.
Mr. Piñol said that the following locations are expected to get P10 million loan each by the first quarter of 2019 for the ice-making facility: 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; 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. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio