“The crafting and implementation of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act (RA 11524) is a gamechanger that would catalyze the modernization and industrialization of the coconut sector, and increase the productivity and incomes of millions of marginal coconut farmers and their families,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
Signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on February 26, 2021, RA 11524 will make use of an initial P75-billion coconut levy to implement a Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP) in the next five years.
Under law, the following programs will be pursued, led by the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA):
· Farm improvement thru intercropping systems;
· Animal integration;
· Establishment of shared facilities for rural processing ventures;
· Provision of social protection;
· Empowerment of coconut farmers’ organizations/cooperatives on entrepreneurship;
· Provision of credit and market support services;
· Infrastructure development; and
· Conduct innovative research and policy studies.
“These programs will be implemented by respective agencies, each pursuing a plan, strategies, criteria in selecting beneficiaries, and allocation as approved by the CFIDP-Trust Fund Management Committee (TFMC) to ensure proper fund utilization,” said PCA Administrator Benjamin Madrigal, Jr.
“In anticipation of the passage of RA 11524, we crafted a Coconut Farmers and Industry R9admapm or CocoFIRM.”
“It is noteworthy that in anticipation of the passage of RA 11524, we crafted a Coconut Farmers and Industry R9admapm or CocoFIRM to assess the current state of the industry and determine its competencies and strategic direction. It also served as the blueprint and basis in determining the programs and projects identified in the CFIDP,” Madrigal added.
In 2021, the DA-PCA has accomplished the following interventions and initiatives:
· Embarked on a hybridization program to increase and sustain coconut production, which entailed massive planting of early-bearing and high-yielding varieties, applied with appropriate inputs, and thereafter expected to produce 80 to 150 nuts per tree per year. As of November 2021, it has distributed 813,161 open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) and 566,056 hybrid seed nuts nationwide.
· Established village-level seed farms as source of quality OPV and hybrid seednuts or seedlings, in partnership with local government units (LGUs), state universities and colleges (SUCs), coconut farmers’ organizations (CFOs), agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), or individuals through memorandum of agreement or contract of lease. To date, the DA-PCA has established 15 seed farms in: Cabagan, Isabela; Gloria, Oriental Mindoro; Mandaon, Masbate; Labo, Camarines Norte; Bago City, Negros Occidental; Dumalag, Capiz; Borbon, Cebu; Capoocan, Leyte; Piñan, Zamboanga del Norte; Gingoog, Misamis Oriental; Ozamis City, Misamis Occidental; Mati City, Davao Oriental; Columbio, Sultan Kudarat; Surigao City, Surigao del Norte; and Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi.
· Intensified marketing and promotion efforts to enhance domestic and international demand for coconut products. As of November 2021, it has linked 177 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to foreign and domestic markets, showcased 20 coconut products in 30 promotional activities 2021 that it co-organized and supported, assisted 19 MSMEs as exhibitors, secured 55 potential investors for seven emerging coconut technologies with an initial investment commitment of P4.3 million, conducted agribusiness matching sessions with 78 exporters, processors, and suppliers, and participated in several DA Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita marketing initiatives.
· Crafted respective Philippine National Standards for coconut briquettes, coco twine, virgin coconut oil (VCO) for human consumption, palm olein for human consumption, and mature coconut.
· Implemented crop diversification and animal integration projects to augment farmers’ income through the provision of short-gestation crops and raising of goats and chicken. As of November 2021, a total of 32,670 hectares of coconut farms were intercropped with short-term crops, while 1,537 hectares were intercropped with high-value crops like coffee and cacao, benefitting 33,367 farm families.
· Under the animal integration projects, 5,046 head of small ruminants and poultry were distributed to 1,926 coconut farmers; and 5,125 head of goats and chicken to 1,837 small oil palm farmers.
· Implemented a coconut-carabao development project, in partnership with the DA’s Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), distributing 407 head of crossbred buffaloes to 17 CFOs. The project is conducted jointly with the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform, LGUs and other entities.
· Assisted CFOs in identifying and establishing enterprises like coconut coir processing, and production of VCO, coco sugar, and food confectioneries, among others. As of November 2021, four enterprises were established, benefitting 200 farmers. One integrated coconut food processing facility in Quezon is currently undergoing the procurement process.
· The DA-PCA Laboratory Services Division was recently accredited with PNS ISO/IEC 17025:2017 in the fields of biological and chemical testing from the Department of Trade and Industry–Philippine Accreditation Bureau (DTI-PAB) for potable water and bottled coconut drink, animal feeds (cornmeal/kernels and copra meal), soils (agricultural) and vegetable oil.
“Coconut oil led the list of the top 10 major commodity groups.”
Finally, as per the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), coconut oil (CNO) led the list of the top 10 major commodity groups with an increase in the annual growth rate of 76.9 percent (%) in terms of export value, compared with the October 2020 data.
The increase of $60.76 million in export value of CNO is attributed to the net effect of increases in volume and price in exports.
Likewise, based on January-October 2020, coconut-based products had the highest growth rate at 48.8% with all coconut products in double-digit percentage increase, according to the PSA.
Further, according to Madrigal, coconut farmers were happy in 2021, as the farmgate and millgate prices of copra were higher, at P36/kg and P46/kg, than in November 2019, at only P14/kg and P19/kg, respectively.
To increase the demand for coconut and sustain the livelihood farmers, the DA-PCA — in coordination with the Department of Energy (DOE) and other members of the National Biofuel Boards (NBB) — continuously exerts efforts to implement the mandated increase in the use of coco methyl ester (CME) biofuel blend from two percent (2% or B2) to 5% or B5.
It has presented to the NBB the projected production data for the next five years (2022-2026) to guarantee that there is a sufficient feedstock requirement for B5. It also proposed policies and regulations to ensure that farmers will directly benefit from said B5 policy.