Coconut industry seeks to reclaim global stature

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
Coconut industry seeks to reclaim global stature

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines plans to develop high-yielding coconut varieties as part of efforts to rejuvenate the coconut industry, the country’s top earner among agricultural products.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the Philippines could once again be among the top coconut producing countries in the world in the next 10 years with the development of high-yielding and versatile coconut varieties.

The government is also working on crafting a five-year coconut industry roadmap as well as the release of coco levy funds.

“There are at least three outstanding new coconut varieties developed by Filipino plant breeders which may propel the country back on top again,” Piñol said.

The variety,  PCA 15-2 which is a cross of the Malayan Red Dwarf and the Tagnanan varieties, produces an estimated six metric tons of copra per year with qualities for the production of virgin coconut oil and coconut sugar.

MRD-Tagnanan, on the other hand, is adaptable nationwide and matures early, bearing fruits as early as two and a half years.

The two other varieties are  PCA 15-1 (produced by cross-breeding the Catigan and Laguna Tall) and PCA 15-9 (a cross between the Tacunan and Tagnanan varieties).

Piñol said these varieties could cover an initial 20,000 hectares which could be a source of planting materials for further expansion in the next three years.

The Philippines continues to lose opportunities to Thailand in the highly-lucrative market of other high-value coconut products. It only has 216,000 hectares of coconut farms compared to Thailand’s 3.3 million hectares.

“The Philippine coconut industry is a perfect example of a sector with a vast potential which missed the train of development simply because it failed to adjust and respond to the demands of the market,” Piñol said.



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