Agri dep’t offers market linkages to assist community pantries


THE DEPARTMENT of Agriculture (DA) is offering its fish market linkage program to individuals and groups that want to donate to community pantries in Metro Manila.

Agriculture Undersecretary Cheryl Marie Natividad-Caballero said in a radio interview on Thursday that donors to the give-and-take food aid drive can tap the “Oplan Isda” of the DA’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

“Producers are linked directly to retailers. Fish products sold under the initiative will not be far from the farmgate price. Bangus (milkfish) can be sold at P110 to P120 per kilogram, and tilapia at P85 to P95 per kilogram,” Ms. Caballero said.

“We are also offering other fish products such as galunggong (roundscad), alumahan, and shellfish, among others,” she added. The project is undergoing a test run in Valenzuela City and Quezon City.

“There are two cooperatives that the BFAR is coordinating with, since it is the one buying fisheries produce in bulk and will be distributed to sellers or donors who wish to distribute to community pantries,” she said.

Meanwhile, the DA official also said the country has extensive supply for fish products amid food sufficiency concerns arising from Chinese presence in the West Philippine Sea.

“The country has enough fish supply. In terms of the West Philippine Sea issue, fishing is a right of every Filipino especially within the country’s exclusive economic zone. And the government will continue to establish that and protect its constituents,” she said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave