BACOLOD - The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) assured prawn growers in the country that they do not have to worry about the upcoming ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), which will be fully implemented in 2015.
BFAR Director Asis Perez said the local prawn industry is very strong, saying the Philippines is one of the major exporters of prawn in the whole world.
Local prawn growers produced some 60,000-70,000 metric tons of prawns last year.
Perez said taxes imposed on products coming from ASEAN nations will be lowered once the AFTA comes into effect in 2015.
BFAR is also trying to lower the price of prawns in markets so that this will become a basic food commodity even for the poor.
This is the reason why the government is helping out prawn growers.
At present, prawns are being sold at around P200-P500 per kilo depending on the variety.
Perez was the guest of honor of the 3-day National Shrimp Congress in Bacolod City.