The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) and the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) forging a partnership for the organization, capacity building, and development of fisherfolk cooperatives Thursday, March 24, at BFAR Central Office, Quezon City.

Represented by BFAR National Director Eduardo B. Gongona and CDA Chairperson USec. Joseph B. Encabo, the MOA aims to strengthen fisherfolk cooperatives through market linkages and access to affordable credit and to scale up mariculture parks productivity.“

Hand-in-hand with the present partnership we have with the CDA, we are not only providing our fisherfolk with means of increasing their yields but also maximizing their profits. With this program and consistent with the DA’s battle cry, Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita, we envision thriving fisherfolk cooperatives working harmoniously with other cooperatives and gaining success in the market industry,” Director Gongona said.

Under the MOA, DA-BFAR shall provide market linkages and business-to-business connectivity through the KADIWA Oplan ISDA Program, facilitate access to affordable credit through the Agriculture Credit Policy Council, and technical assistance on value-adding fishery products.

The KADIWA Oplan ISDA program supports fish producers by hastening the delivery of fresh and cheap fish commodities to greater Metro Manila. Since April 2021, a total of 158.95 metric tons of bangus, tilapia, and pompano were delivered through the program.

Meanwhile, the CDA will conduct social preparation and orientation among fisherfolk cooperatives, provide relevant trainings and guidance on compliance with regulatory requirements, and assist prospective cooperatives in registering through a pre-registration seminar.“

This will allow our cooperatives to avail seminars, training, and other capacity-building measures that would help equip our fisherfolks with the best learning and knowledge in the aqua fisheries management as well as the vast opportunities for their business,” USec. Encabo said.

A joint technical working group will be created to conduct regular monitoring and updating of the implementation of the partnership program.