COTABATO CITY—Officials from the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) and BARMM’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) met to discuss the recent directive of President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. which is to expand country’s fisheries production by 10 percent.
BFAR Director and Assistant National Director Isidro Velayo, BFAR National Director Atty. Demosthenes Escoto, Regional Director Sammy Malvas, Fisheries Planning, and Evaluation Chief Maria Abegail Albaladejo, discussed this recently with MAFAR Director-General for Fisheries Services Pendatun Patarasa, Director II for Fisheries Operations Dr. Macmod Mamalangkap, and Director for Agrarian Reform Support Services Dr. Tong Pinguiaman.
Director Escoto expressed his appreciation to MAFAR Minister Mohammad Yacob for acknowledging the importance of the meeting.
“This meeting with MAFAR will bring to the fore addressing fisheries concerns nationwide which requires a concerted effort of all regions, including BARMM,” Escoto said.
To recall, BARMM ranked as first in the country for two consecutive years in terms of fishery production volume with a total production record of 4.25 million metric tons in 2021. Last year, this grew up to a total of 4.34 million metric tons.
Meanwhile, MAFAR Director-General for Fisheries Services Patarasa conveyed MAFAR Minister Yacob’s message of gratitude and support in strengthening its partnership with BFAR to sustain the recent gains of the fisheries sector in BARMM and ensure adequate contribution to food security, improve farmers and fisherfolk income and poverty reduction.
“The policy directions of MAFAR are aligned with that of the national agency (BFAR), including production increase food security and nutrition,” Patarasa said.
Accordingly, the ministry eyes to focus on high-impact projects such as post-harvest facilities, including seaweed warehouse, construction, and rehabilitation of existing fish ports/landings to reduce the high fisheries post-harvest losses.
“MAFAR is looking at augmenting the production of the regional production both in Aquaculture and Capture Fisheries,” Patarasa further stressed.
The meeting concluded with an agreement and ways forward to continue collaborations between the DA-BFAR and BARMM-MAFAR for the benefit of farmers and fisherfolk in the Bangsamoro region and the entire country. (Kasan Usop, Jr./BIO with reports from MAFAR)