Trust fund set for coco farmers

About 3.5 million coconut farmers from 68 coconut- producing provinces will benefit if a proposed measure that seeks to create a trust fund by selling assets bought using the coco levy fund is enacted into law, said Senator Cynthia Villar said Thursday.

The Senate passed on second reading Senate Bill 1396, or the “Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act,” in which the government is mandated to sell P75 billion of coconut levy assets in the next five years to create a trust fund for the coconut farmers.

Villar, head of the Committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform and principal sponsor of the bill, said the passage of the measure would benefit the coconut farmers owning not more than five hectares who belonged to the poorest sector.

Villar also expressed confidence that the enactment of the law would be swift as the concerns that caused the veto of the former version of thebill had ball been addressed.

After the enactment of the bill, she says, the Bureau of Treasury will transfer P10 billion to the trust fund in the first year, 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.

She said P5 billion of the trust fund would be used for the following programs:

• 15 percent for planting and replanting seedlings and producing hybrid coconut seedlings by the PCA.

• 5 percent for research and the production of hybrid coconut seedlings by the DOST-PCAARRD

• 8 percent for the training of coconut farmers and their families as listed in the coconut farmers’ registry in farm schools through TESDA and Agricultural Training Institute to be shared equally

• 5 percent for research, marketing and promotion by the Bureau of Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Development under the DTI

• 10 percent to be shared equally for farm improvements through diversification and intercropping with livestock, dairy, poultry, coffee and cacao production by the National Dairy Authority and the

DA, Native Animal Program and High Value Crop Program to be divided equally

• 10 percent for shared facilities for processing by PHilMech to be given to cooperatives. If there is no cooperative in the town, it will go to LGUs

• 5 percent for organizing and empowering coconut farmer organizations and their cooperatives under the Cooperative Development Authority

• 10 percent to be shared equally for the credit programs of the Development Bank of the Philippines and Land Bank of the Philippines

• 10 percent for infrastructure development to be implemented by the DPWH in coconut-producing LGUs

• 8 percent for Scholarship programs for farmers and their families to be implemented by the CHED

• 10 percent for health and medical programs for farmers and their families to be implemented by agency created by PCA

• 4 percent for crop insurance to be implemented by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation.

Topics: Cynthia Villar , Coco levy fund , Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation , Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act , Cynthia Villar
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