By Rey Anthony Chiu | 05:43 PM August 20, 2022
It won’t be just a week of commemorating the Philippine Coconut Week, but a five-year-long opportunity to allow coconut farmers in the Philippines to compete and be at par with other coconut producing countries in the worldwide market.
Thus shared Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Administrator and retired general Benjamin madrigal Jr, who personally came to Bohol August 17 to lead the regional launching of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP), and unrolling the five-year-roadmap which is set to bring coconut farmers out of the mires of poverty into the pedestal of global marketing.
Set in time to also drumbeat the annual Philippine Coconut Industry Week celebrated every August 23-30, the PCFIDP rollout, announces the coconut industry revolution which was envisioned following the signing into law last year by President Rodrigo Duterte, Republic Act 11524, known as the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act (CFITFA).
The law, according to Administrator Madrigal, now officially lays out and allows for the utilization and management of the P75 billion coconut levy funds.
It was in 1971 to 1982, when then President Marcos ordered the collection of levies, charges and taxes from coconut growers for the sale of copra. The money was supposed to fund for the coconut industry research, but was suspected to be used for capital instead by Marcos cronies.
Madrigal said when they presented the CFIDP to President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., the new president ordered for the quick and hastened implementation of the activities and programs designed to raise the income of our coconut farmers, and rehabilitate and elevate the industry to be at par with the world.
The CFIDP was drafted following the signing of Republic Act 11524, known as the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act (CFITFA), by Duterte on Feb. 26, 2021. The plan was approved through Executive Order 172, which was signed on June 2, 2022.
CFIDP aims to increase the income and productivity of the 2.5 million coconut farmers in the country, ease the Filipinos out of poverty and rehabilitate and modernize the Philippine coconut industry, through the plan’s various programs and components to be implemented by 14 other government agencies partnering with the PCA.
The CFIDP would utilize P10 billion in its first year, another P10B on year 2, P15B on Years 3 and 4 and the remaining P25B on the fifth year of the plan’s programs’ and components’ implementation.
These components include social protection like medical benefits with Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, crop insurance with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, trainings and farm schools development and implementation with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Training Institute.
Also in the coconut levy trust fund utilization plan is for coconut farmers organization and development with the Cooperative Development Authority, the hybridization program with the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Center for Agriculture, Aquatic Natural Resources Research and Development, community-based farm enterprise development with the Philippine Carabao Center, National Dairy Authority, Bureau of Animal Industry.
Still in the 5-year plan is the setting up of integrated coconut processing and downstream products with the Philippine Center for Post harvest and Mechanization, support services with Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines.
The plan also includes research, marketing and marketing promotions with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Public Works and Highways as well as innovative research projects and practical applications in production and distribution. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)