GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/18 September) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is working on another major expansion and upgrade for the city’s fish port complex as it moves to make it at par with other international fish ports.
Engr. Ginalyn Cachuela, manager of the Socsksargen Area Development Project Office (ADPO), said Monday the DA central office has approved the conduct of a feasibility study for the modernization of the General Santos City Fish Port Complex (GSFPC) in Barangay Tambler here.
She said DA’s Philippine Fisheries and Development Authority, which operates the GSFPC, prepared the terms of reference for the study.
“The fish port is nearly two decades old so there is really a need to improve its facilities,” Cachuela said.
She said the DA central office has lined up for this quarter the procurement of consultancy services for the feasibility study, which has a funding of P7 to P9 million.
The official said they expect the awarding of the contract before the end of the year to facilitate the start of the six-month study by January next year.
The city government and local tuna industry stakeholders had been pushing for the rehabilitation and modernization of the city fish port complex.
Cahuela said industry players noted that the although considered the country’s most modern, the city fish port is “not yet at par” with those of the neighboring countries.
She said their office has been regularly engaging with tuna industry players to address concerns and recommendations regarding the fish port’s operations.
Socsksargen ADPO, a special project unit of the DA, coordinates, implements and monitors programs and projects in the area that are in support of the DA’s food security program.
It also coordinates the implementation of development plans and initiatives that complement the government’s peace efforts.
GSFPC, which is one of the biggest fish ports in the country, started operating in 1999 and has since become a major fish landing and trading hub in southern and central Mindanao.
The national government completed its initial expansion in 2008 that included the construction of processing and refrigeration facilities, as well as a deep-water docking facility to facilitate the accommodation of large fishing vessels.
The expansion, which was supervised by the China National Construction and Agricultural Machinery Export/Import Corp., was funded through a USD $26 million loan with the Chinese government. (MindaNews)