Philippines approves USD 10 million COVID-related stimulus for aquaculture sector
The Philippines Department of Agriculture has allocated an additional budget of PHP 500 million (USD 10.4 million, EUR 8.5 million) to assist the country’s aquaculture sector in overcoming difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The stimulus package will support farming of certain fish and aquatic species such as glass eels, sea urchins, and seaweeds, as well as provide funds for construction of multi-species hatcheries in the country, according to a report from The Philippine Star.
“We are investing on the potential of these commodities to help the fisheries sector meet its production target for food security while providing livelihood support to our fisherfolk,” Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Director Eduardo Gongona said.
Plans to distribute the funds throughout the country are now underway. The funding program is expected to help boost the country’s aquaculture production by 9,600 metric tons (MT).
In June, the Philippine Information Agency reported that the country is planning to borrow USD 200 million (EUR 176 million) from the World Bank to fund a project that aims to improve domestic fisheries production and safeguard its “blue economy” resources. The project is expected to be launched in October 2021, once approved.
The Philippines’ fisheries production rose 2.9 percent year-on-year to 1.02 million MT in the third quarter. Of the total, aquaculture production declined by 2.7 percent year-on-year to 480,670 MT, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority revealed.
Growth was recorded in many species, including in catches of bigeye tuna (up 39.9 percent year-on-year), bali sardinella (31.5 percent higher), blue crab (up 25.6 percent), yellowfin tuna (up 16.1 percent), frigate tuna (rising 13.6 percent), and round scad (12.9 percent higher year-on-year).
However, the production of fimbriated sardines fell by 21.8 percent from a year ago, while the output of tiger prawn and mud crabs went down 11.3 and 9.7 percent year-on-year, respectively.
The Philippines has had more than 460,000 cases of the coronavirus with nearly 9,000 deaths as of 21 December, according to the country’s Department of Health.
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