Tuguegarao City, Cagayan – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will put more emphasis to its poverty alleviation mandate through the implementation of its TARGET program this year.

By Max Prudencio, BFAR R02

Target or Targeted Actions to Reduce Poverty and Generate Economic Transformation is designed to reduce poverty in fishing communities through the provision of comprehensive livelihood packages which include skills training on resource management and protection.

Dr. Angel Encarnacion, planning chief of the BFAR regional office here, said that a total of 3,123
individuals in Region 02 will be assisted under the TARGET program. The figure represents 5% of the total registered fisherfolk in Region 02.

At present, the agency is conducting a thorough screening of would-be beneficiaries using data from FishR (Fisherfolk Registration), to be cross-matched with the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Field validation will also be conducted to ensure that the beneficiaries really belong to the “poorest of the poor” in their respective communities, Dr. Encarnacion explained.

Livelihood assistance will depend on the capability of the beneficiary and its appropriateness with regards 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.

The Bureau will train its employees to implement the various projects under TARGET in order to meet its target ratio of 1 personnel per 50 individuals or beneficiaries. Other government agencies and non-government organizations will also be tapped for the social preparation of the beneficiaries.

Apart from the provision of livelihood projects, TARGET will also tackle improvement of productivity through the establishment of Fish Landing Centers, installation of payao (fish aggregating devices) and mariculture parks, where appropriate, along with the provision of training on marketing and product promotion.

Dr. Encarnacion said that fish landing centers will be constructed in the towns of Calayan, Sta. Praxedes, Sanchez Mira, and Ballesteros in Cagayan, and in Uyugan, Batanes. These centers will serve as a conducive venue for fishers to trade their products, and will also double as a training and meeting center for fisherfolk.

If the situation warrants, Dr. Encarnacion further said that the bureau can provide appropriate post harvest facilities like cold storage or a processing plant.

“With 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 4% poverty incidence reduction in the poorest fishing communities,” Dr. Jovita Ayson, regional director of the BFAR RO2, said.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s April 2015 issue.