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Business

Coconut centers to be put up nationwide

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The government is putting up coconut centers in 67 provinces to provide assistance to growers, the Department of Agriculture said.

The DA has signed an inter-agency memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the establishment of an agribusiness one-stop-shop called “Malasakit sa Magniniyog: Coco Center.”

The agreement was signed by Agriculture Secretary William Dar and UCPB-CIFF Finance and Development Corp. (COCOFINANCE) and UCPB-CIFF Foundation Inc. president and chief executive officer Rehan Balt Lao.

It was also signed by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), United Coconut Planters Bank, Coconut Industry Investment Fund – Oil Mills Group, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Department of Trade and Industry, Land Bank of the Philippines, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Cooperative Development Authority, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Agrarian Reform, and the National Anti-Poverty Commission. 

Under the MOU, a coco center will be established in the 67 coconut provinces of the country, starting with the Mindanao regions.

Lao said the company targets to finish at least 30 percent of coco center this year.

“The coco center will serve as a central location where assistance from partner agencies may be channeled to small coconut growers,”the DA said.

It added the centers would also serve as a touchpoint for investors to directly link up with coco groups for the supply of finished products, raw materials and labor for coconut-related enterprises.

The DA said the ultimate goal of the cooperation is to uplift the living condition of small coconut farmers, particularly those who are considered among the poorest in the agricultural sector.

The agriculture secretary said the importance of institutionalizing farmers’ cooperatives, stressing that it is time to elevate coconut farmers.

In addition, Dar said it is high time to professionalize farmers’ cooperatives, which will not only focus on productivity, but will also carry out value-adding and marketing activities.

Data shows that Filipino coconut farmers produced 0.4 percent more last year at 14,779 metric tons (MT) compared to 2018’s level of 14,726 MT.

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