Amid the country’s achievements in the coconut industry, Sen. Cynthia Villar gave assurance she will continuous to do what is necessary to protect and expand the industry.
“We are aware that our work doesn’t stop here as we continually monitor the implementation of relevant laws (in the industry),” said Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on agriculture and food.
Speaking during the opening ceremonies of the 3rd World Coconut Congress 2023 with the theme “Sustain the Source,” Villar noted that in line with her advocacy to lift the coconut industry, she fought for the passage of the Republic Act No. 11524 or “The Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act” which lapsed into law in 2021.
“This law aims to consolidate the benefits due to coconut farmers, especially the poor and marginalized, under various statutes and to expedite the delivery thereof to attain increased income for coconut farmers, alleviate poverty and achieve social equality, “ stressed Villar.
The law also mandates the preparation of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP), which shall set the directions and policies for the development and rehabilitation of the coconut industry within 50 years.
Despite the continued boom of exports, she pointed out that the coconut industry still confronts challenges.
Among the identified problems are the vulnerability of the product to world price fluctuations, low farm productivity, recurring infestations, and the effects of climate change.
But as we celebrate World Coconut Congress, Villar exhorted all stakeholders to work together to tackle the issues and make initiatives to safeguard the coconut industry.
“We are set with a thrust to strengthen the value chain for domestic and international markets, develop talent and skilled workforce, attract more sustainable and inclusive investment development opportunities, and advance towards sustainable agricultural practices,” she added.
The event held at World Trade Center in Pasay City was attended by a diverse group of delegates with different expertise from many countries
They were united by the same aspiration, towards sharing knowledge and exploring opportunities in the coconut industry.