• BFAR program targets ‘poorest of the poor’

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    TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan: A total of 3,123 individuals in the Cagayan Valley region will be assisted under the poverty alleviation program of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

    According to BFAR, the figure represents 5.0 percent of the total registered fisherfolk in the region who will benefit from the program called Targeted Actions to Reduce Poverty and Generate Economic Transformation (Target).

    BFAR planning chief Angel Encarnacion said Target will put more emphasis to uplift the standard of living of marginal fishermen in the region.

    “Target is designed to reduce poverty in fishing communities through the provision of comprehensive livelihood packages with inclusion of skills training on resource management and protection,” Encarnacion said.

    He said the livelihood assistance will depend on the capability of the beneficiary and its appropriateness with regard to the status of their resources.

    “So far, the fisheries bureau has lined up projects such as fishponds, fish cages, seaweed farms, oyster farming and distribution of fishing paraphernalia, among others,” Encarnacion said.

    In addition to the livelihood program, the establishment of Fish Landing Centers is also part of the BFAR’s Target project to improve productivity, which include installation of payao and mariculture park where appropriate, along with the provision of training on marketing and product promotion.

    He said the towns of Calayan, Sta. Praxedes, Sanchez Mira and Ballesteros in Cagayan, and in Uyugan, Batanes island have been identified as fish landing centers.

    “These areas are conducive venue for fishers to trade their products, and will also double as training and meeting center for the fisherfolk,” Encarnacion said.

    He also said that the construction of fish landing centers may also come with it the provision of appropriate post harvest facilities like cold storage or processing plant.

    “With the Target, we can focus our interventions and the meager government resources, where it really matters. We hope to match or even exceed the target of four percent poverty incidence reduction in the poorest fishing communities,” said Jovita Ayson, director of the BFAR-Region 2 office.

    Meantime, Ayson said the bureau is conducting thorough screening of would-be beneficiaries using data from the Fisherfolk Registration program to be cross-matched with the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

    She said that field validation will also be conducted to ensure that the beneficiaries really belong to the “poorest of the poor” in their respective communities.

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