Coconut industry roadmap to focus on competitiveness

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star
Coconut industry roadmap to focus on competitiveness
Last week, PCA administrator Benjamin Madrigal Jr. announced that the PCA completed the crafting of the Coconut Farmers Industry Roadmap.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Increased social protection for farmers, improved production, and enhanced trade are some of the key strategies to be implemented by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) with the launch of its coconut farmers and industry development roadmap which aims to boost the industry’s competitiveness.

Last week, PCA administrator Benjamin Madrigal Jr. announced that the PCA completed the crafting of the Coconut Farmers Industry Roadmap (COCOFIRM).

In a roadmap summary, a copy of which was obtained by The STAR, the PCA identified seven strategies to achieve the goal of creating a globally competitive coconut industry.

Among these are promoting coconut farmers’s welfare and social protection; strengthening and empowering coconut farmer organizations (CFOs); increasing and sustaining coconut production or farm improvement; and establishing coconut-based farming systems (CBFS) agri-business hubs and corridors for coconut products, intercrops and livestock.

Other key strategies alo include improving competitiveness of traditional and non-traditional coconut products in local and global markets; enhancing trade and marketing; and strengthening policy and other support services.

“These COCOFIRM recommendations address major concerns of the industry toward improving the competitiveness of traditional and non-traditional coconut products for global and domestic markets,”the PCA said.

The PCA said the strategies would support efforts toward social protection and improved farmers welfare; agribusiness management and skills enhancement of coconut farmers’ organizations; farm improvements including hybridization, intercropping, livestock integration and integrated coconut processing agro-enterprises; and provision of support systems including credit, shared facilities, infrastructure, and road networks.

The roadmap aims to provide direction and recommendations toward sustainable development of the coconut industry, focusing on inclusive growth to lift the coconut farmers out of poverty and improving the competitiveness and expanding the market potential of traditional and nontraditional coconut products.

“This (COCOFIRM) provides the broad strokes and strategic directions for the coconut farmers industry development, ensuring that the current and the next generation of coconut farmers are capacitated into empowering copreneurs,” Madrigal said.

He added that the completed roadmap was a result of various consultations with coconut farmers, industry groups, and other concerned stakeholders.

The PCA is mandated to craft the roadmap as part of its duties stated in the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act (CFITFA), which was signed by the President in February.

The CFITFA allocates P5 million for the formulation of an industry development plan.

“The approval of RA 11524 creating the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund (CFITF) will jumpstart and sustain the transformation of the coconut industry, provide social protection, empowerment,and prosperity to farmers and thus, strengthen and enhance the global competitiveness of the coconut industry,”the PCA said.

Under the law, the CFITF will receive P10 billion from the Bureau of the Treasury upon enactment of the law, and then P10 billion in the second year, P15 billion in the third year, P15 billion in the fourth year, and P25 billion in the fifth year, for a total of P75 billion, plus any amount accruing, including interest of the coconut levy, in the special account in the general fund.

Apart from the crafting of the roadmap, the PCA is also mandated to update the National Coconut Farmers Registry System (NCFRS).

Last month, Madrigal said a total of 2.84 million farmers have been registered in the NCFRS.

Of the total registrants, 315,104 are new registrants, while the 2.5 million were farmers who registered from 2015 to 2018.

Madrigal said the PCA has already updated 51.22 percent or 1.29 million farmers from the 2.5 million registrants in the old registry.

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