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The P58.4-M BFAR initiative will benefit 25 fisher groups in Eastern Visayas.

According to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), at least PHP58.4 million has been allocated for the next six years under the second phase of Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) to help underprivileged fishermen in Eastern Visayas.

The funding for the project’s three elements—social preparation, food production and livelihood, and program management—is meant for 25 fisherfolk groups, according to BFAR Eastern Visayas regional information officer Christine Gresola.

A portion of PHP4M was set aside for social preparation, where capacity-building, group creation, needs assessment, and profiling will take place.

“Food production and livelihood would account for the majority of the budget, totaling PHP47.5 million, with a focus on livelihood packages and specialized training for project beneficiaries. The program management has been given PHP6.9 million, which is used to implement internal tasks required to deliver the requested goods and services, according to Gresola.

Fishermen who receive aid come from one-third of the region’s six poorest towns. The list of recipients is based on the 2018 poverty incidence report of the Philippine Statistics Authority, while the list of locations is based on the new income classification by the Finance Department.

BFAR has been holding meetings with representatives of local government units and leaders of the fishing community, as well as program orientation and information drives, as the three-year project’s implementation picks up speed.

“BFAR is optimistic that through this project, the region’s fisheries industry will be strengthened and our marginalized fisherfolk communities will be empowered and transformed into thriving entrepreneurs,” Gresola continued.

With a poverty prevalence of 22.2% in the Eastern Visayas in 2021, fishermen are among the poorest groups of people. The program aims to reduce poverty by 50%.

BFAR-SAAD offers services with an emphasis on aquaculture, marine, freshwater, and brackish water livelihood interventions.

With a budget of PHP185.68 million, the fisheries bureau implemented SAAD phase 1 from 2017 to 2020.

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