TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol – The Land Bank of Philippines (LANDBANK) and the Provincial Government of Bohol have partnered for the roll-out of an innovative fish buy-back scheme that will provide local fishers a sure market for their daily catch while reducing the consumer price of fish in the province.
Under the Fish Buy Back Program, the Provincial Government of Bohol will directly buy the fish catch of local fishers’ associations and handle the sales to partner trader groups.
LANDBANK, for its part, will ensure the availability of affordable financing to support the operations of the participating parties and facilitate the disbursement of cashless payments under the partnership.
Bohol Governor Erico Aristotle C. Aumentado and LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia Cayosa Borromeo Borromeo signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on 10 March 2023 at the Bohol Provincial Capitol in Tagbilaran City for the Fish Buy Back Program.
They were joined by Provincial Administrator Aster C. Caberte, LANDBANK Senior Vice Presidents Elsie Fe NB. Tagupa and Khurshid U. Kalabud, along with participating fishers’ associations, and fish vendor and trader groups.
“We are pleased to take part in this timely and impactful initiative to advance the local fishing industry, which will benefit both local fishers and consumers. You can be assured of LANDBANK’s steadfast commitment to the objectives we have set out to accomplish under this program,” said LANDBANK President Borromeo.
Under the partnership, LANDBANK will provide loans to 25 participating fishers’ associations through the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF), to support the acquisition of fishing equipment such as fishing boats, marine engines, and fish nets, as well as production inputs for fish cage culture.
The Bank will also extend loans to 10 partner fish vendor and trader groups for the purchase of local fish catch from the Provincial Government, including its commercial distribution, at a price lower than the prevailing market price.
“I’d like to thank LANDBANK for allowing us to have this project. We cannot do it without your support,” said Governor Aumentado, adding that he looks forward to more collaboration projects with the Bank.
The Provincial Government of Bohol is expected to officially implement the Fish Buy Back Program in the four priority municipalities of Talibon, Bien Unido, Getafe, and Buenavista this March at the earliest, with plans of eventual roll-out in other parts of the province.
LANDBANK has already approved a total of P162.8 million in loans for 17 fishers’ associations and 7 fish trader groups to jumpstart the Fish Buy Back Program. They will enjoy an annual interest rate of as low as 2%, with a repayment period of five (5) years, payable every six months from the date of the initial drawdown.
Meanwhile, in line with the Provincial Government’s push for digitalization, the Program will adopt a cashless arrangement for faster and more secure disbursement of funds. All payments between the Provincial Government, fishers’ associations and trader groups will be facilitated through LANDBANK’s iAccess and weAccess facilities.
Members of the participating fishers’ associations have also been encouraged to use the LANDBANK Mobile Banking App and LANDBANKPay to enjoy free and real-time fund transfers.