AGRICULTURE Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel is pushing for the amendment and expansion of the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority’s (PFDA) charter to allow the state corporation to develop marine industrial estates nationwide to boost the country’s fish stocks.
Laurel argued that the PFDA’s mandate must include the power to develop and manage marine and agro-industrial estates across the country.
At present, the PFDA is limited to the management and development of key fish ports nationwide as well as providing post-harvest services to the country’s fisheries sector.
Laurel explained that his proposal to amend the PFDA charter aligns with the flagship Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP) and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s goal of “modernizing the agriculture sector.”
Under his proposal, the PFDA would create and manage marine
and agro-industrial estates that would serve “one-stop shops” which house ports, cold-storage facilities, silos, and warehouses to store farm and marine products such as rice, sugar, vegetables, palm oil and other basic commodities, and ensure their stable supply.
“I’ve seen this model successfully implemented in South Korea and Japan. I hope the World Bank can help us realize this vision,” he said.
The expansion of the PFDA mandate is part of the DA’s goal to craft a logistics master plan that would cover the country’s agricultural and fisheries value chains. “Definitely, we need a logistics master plan. That is one thing I think is lacking in the DA,” Laurel said.
Laurel disclosed that he would also soon appoint an Assistant Secretary whose task is to focus on the logistics of the agri-fisheries sector “to ensure public funds are well spent.”
Laurel said he has been meeting with lawmakers, lobbying for possible adjustments in the department’s budget for next year in line with the administration’s goal of improving domestic farm productivity, achieving food security and raising farmers and fishermen’s income.
“We need to scale up and get our priorities straight,” he said.
“I have technically three-and-a-half years to accomplish these things. The DA, under my watch, will do its best to speed things up,” he added.