P10M allotted for coco industry rehab

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Having addressed the recent issues concerning rice and vegetables, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to allocate P10 million for the revival of the stagnant coconut industry.

According to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, the agricultural top earner faces problems needing immediate attention.

“During the second Philippine Coconut Industry Governing Council meeting Wednesday, I asked the PCA to gather stakeholders and draft a five-year Road Map to set the direction in rehabilitating and reviving the coconut industry which has been hit by very low copra prices, delay in the implementation of the replanting program and the failure to explore other income-earning opportunities in the industry,” the new PCA chairman said.

Piñol added it was only during their meeting that he found out the coconut industry did not have an updated development plan to chart its direction and guide the stakeholders.

“This, I believe, was the reason why the government failed to anticipate changes in the market demands and in addressing issues like the cocolisap infestation,” he added Piñol.

The Coconut Scale Insect or “cocolisap” infestation has been a problem in the coco-farming industry for years. Cocolisap has been affecting millions of coconut trees in the Bicol Region, Basilan, Zamboanga and, just recently, Romblon.

PCA had initially done major actions to fix the issue, but the infestation hasn’t been totally resolved.

In May, PCA tried using the natural predator Comperiella (a genus of parasitic wasps) to control the infestation.

Price issue

Moreover, coco farmers and oil manufacturers are calling on the Duterte administration to immediately implement the Biofuel Act to resolve the markdown in prices of copra.

The Biofuels Act of 2006 (Republic Act 9367) will mandate that all diesel fuels sold in the domestic market be blended with five percent Coco Methyl Ester (CME).

Recent data from the Philippine Statistics Authority shows that the farmgate price of both varieties of copra, which are Copra Corriente and Copra Resecada, continued in a downtrend from the first to second quarter of 2018.

From P31.48 per kilo in January, Copra Corriente’s farmgate price declined to P19.78 in June or about 37.17 percent lower. The Copra Resecada started off at P36.41 per kilo in January to only P23.04 in June, or 36.69 lower in the span of five months.

Furthermore, Piñol said PCA’s failure to adjust to the needs of the market made the country lose out to Thailand in the Coco Water business

This, he added, will also be addressed along with other income-generating opportunities in the coconut sector including Coco Coir production, “which is in demand now because of Greenhouse Farming,” he ended.

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