PCA nixes plan to lift ban on mature coconut exports

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) has rejected a plan to lift the ban on the export of matured coconut.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar, who heads the PCA governing board, said they have decided not to lift the ban even more than 30 years after the Marcos administration ordered an executive order instituting the ban.

“There is already an increase in copra prices and this is against our medium to long term goal to enhance value adding in the country,” Dar said during the launch of the Binhi Awards Tuesday.

“We do not want our genetics to be copied in a big way by other countries. We will maintain our competitive advantage,” he said.

It was in April this year when former agriculture chief Emmanuel Pinol proposed the lifting of the export ban. Executive Order 1016 was issued in 1985.

“This was anchored on the very low prices of copra. We asked the PCA to have a series of consultation with stakeholders and even traders,” Dar said.

“There are more of those who do no want to export our mature coconuts,” he said.

The EO has effectively prevented the export of mature  coconuts amid concerns on the possible spread of the local genetic materials for the commodity.

China earlier expressed interest to import mature coconuts from the Philippines.

Early this year, mill gate prices dropped to as low as P10 per kilogram.

Dar said prices have slowly recovered to about P20 per kilo.

Approximately four million farmers nationwide are being affected with the drop in copra prices due to competition in the global market.

To address the low productivity, Dar said the PCA would undertake a massive fertilization program starting next year.

“We will also go for massive intercropping for coconuts. We need to diversify income sources for coconuts,” he said.

“We will do replanting, as well as enterprise development and business approach for the industry,” Dar said.

For the third quarter, coconut production inched up 0.27 percent to 4.04 million metric tons as more nuts were harvested due to lesser weather disturbances during the period as well as the increased number of bearing trees.



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