DA allots P2.7B to modernize Navotas fishport

METRO Manila and suburbs will enjoy more supply and stable prices of fresh and quality fish with the upgrading of the 35-year old Navotas Fish Port Complex (NFPC).

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said this would be the scenario in 2015, when the 47.5-hectare fish port complex would have been renovated and modernized.

The upgrading of the NFPC, costing P2.7 billion, is one of the five big infrastructure projects recently endorsed and submitted by the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for approval by the NEDA Board, chaired by President Benigno S. Aquino.

Secretary Alcala said the project will be completed in four years, under the supervision of the DA through the Philippine Fish Development Authority (PFDA).

It will entail three major activities, namely: upgrading of landing quay, market halls, piers, parking areas, drainage system and breakwater; construction of wharf landing, dredging of harbor basin, and provision of an area for ship repair and other agri-fishery enterprises; and provision of new facilities like cold storage system, conveyors, fish sorting areas, and waste water treatment plant.

Navotas fish port is considered the country’s biggest and oldest in the country which began operations in 1977.

To finance the project, the Philippine government will seek a loan worth P2.56 billion from the China Export-Import Bank, and share a counterpart of P137 million.

Secretary Alcala said with the modern NFPC, fish supply and prices in Metro Manila would be stabilized, as total fish unloading and trading would increase by about 60 percent from the current annual average of 131,934 metric tons (MT) to 210,806 MT by 2015. Further, postharvest losses would be reduced considerably, with the new port’s faster sorting, delivery, transport systems, and availability of cold storage facilities.

Further, the renovated fish port would directly benefit more than 7,500 fisherfolk, 4,400 fishery-based enterprises and 2,335 fishing vessels. It would also create new jobs for 30,900 individuals during the construction and operational phases.

For his part, newly-appointed PFDA General Manager Eduardo M. Chu said the NFPC project is a big challenge, and acknowledged the efforts of past DA and PFDA administrations in preparing the project’s groundwork.

He said the benefits will not be confined among the NFPC clients, but more importantly redound to fish consumers in the National Capital Region (NCR) as 80% of the region’s fish supply comes from Navotas. Daily, an average of 380 metric tons of various fish species is unloaded and traded at the port.

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