FEEDER PORT. Sagay City Mayor Alfredo Marañon III discusses the operations of PHP153.5-million Sagay Feeder Port in Negros Occidental with other officials, during its inauguration on Wednesday (October 20, 2021). The World Bank-funded project is expected to benefit more than 22,000 farmers and fisherfolk in northern Negros. (Photo courtesy of Sagay City Information and Tourism Office)

BACOLOD CITY – The PHP153.5-million Sagay Feeder Port in Sagay City, Negros Occidental opens more opportunities to more than 22,000 farmers and fisherfolk in northern Negros through the distribution of agricultural goods to other parts of the country.

Unveiled on Wednesday, the World Bank-funded project was implemented by the Department of Agriculture-Western Visayas (DA-6) through the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).

In a statement on Thursday, Mayor Alfredo Marañon III, who accepted the key of responsibility to maintain the operations of the feeder port, thanked the lead agencies for the completion of the five-year project.

“More things should be done to improve the feeder port and we ask the help of the provincial government and DA-6 to realize these endeavors,” he said.

The construction of the 280-meter feeder port/fish landing facility, located in Barangay Old Sagay, started in December 2017 after the completion of the paperwork the year before.

Across Sagay and its neighboring cities and municipalities, the project is seen to boost the livelihood of 22,602 farmers and fisherfolk or 3,648 households, according to the DA figures.

Jose Albert Barrogo, chief of the DA-6 Regional Agricultural Engineering Division and PRDP deputy director for Western Visayas, said the operations of the feeder port will open more shipping opportunities, not just for travelers, but also in transporting goods of Sagay and nearby localities to other places in the Philippines.

The Sagay Feeder Port has direct access to Batangas Port, Estancia Port in Iloilo, Bantayan and Tabuelan Ports in Cebu, Cebu International Port, Bredco Port in Bacolod, and Cadiz International Port.

Second District Rep. Leo Rafael Cueva said he is grateful to the DA-6 and the provincial government for the realization of the project that will give Negrenses more access to other ports in the country and allow the distribution of agricultural and marine products from Sagay and neighboring towns and cities as well.

“Access to port is very vital to create an economic zone. Once we have our locators in our eco-zone, we can generate more employment and business opportunities,” Cueva added.

Sagay hosts the 180-hectare Northern Negros Agro-Industrial Export Processing Zone, which is only 11 kilometers away from the feeder port.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the project’s economic benefits will also include the increase in the market value of agricultural and fishery products that pass through the feeder port.

“When agriculture and fisheries are developed and enhanced, and the fact that as an archipelago we have a rich marine life and aquatic resources, we begin to have not just food security, but also food accessibility for every Filipino,” he added.

Of the PHP153.5 million total project cost, 80 percent was funded by the World Bank while the DA and the provincial government had a counterpart of 10 percent each. (PNA)