Saying “senile” coconut trees can only produce 40 nuts per tree in a year, Senator Cynthia A. Villar is pushing to increase the country’s coconut production.
Villar, chairperson of the Senate agriculture and food committee, noted that producing more coconuts will also expand its export.
To attain its goal, the senator said the committee has allocated at least P1 billion for the development of hybrid coconut seed farms and nursery for planting and replanting. This would be implemented jointly by the Philippine Coconut Authority and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD).
“With hybrid coconuts, we are expecting 150 nuts per tree annually. Surely, increased production together with other support in the form of training, insurance provision, crop diversification, research and product marketing, credit facilities, organization empowerment, infrastructure development, scholarship, and health and medical assistance will break our coconut farmers and their family from poverty,” explained Villar during the PCA’s “Coco-Kwentuhan sa Negosyo” in celebration of the Coco Month.
She also cited the need for continuous education and improving one’s knowledge on new technology regarding the production and post-production of coconut.
“Despite the continuing pandemic which has affected all our lives, we still have many things to celebrate. And among which is the milestone of the passing into law the Coconut Industry Trust Fund Act, or RA 11524,” said Villar.
She pointed out that the passage of the law is “very significant to accomplish our goal of uplifting the lives of our 3.5 million coconut farmers.”
“The coconut trust fund belongs to our coconut farmers and their families. With provision of scholarship for our coconut farmers and their children, an annual allocation of 8% and 10% for health and medical programs on top of Philhealth coverage, I am confident this will improve the quality of lives of our coconut farmers,” said the lady senator.
With the Coconut Industry Trust Fund Act, Villar expects to resolve the many issues blocking the full growth of the coconut industry.
She said the Coconut Industry Trust Fund Act and the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan can provide the direction for the government to achieve increased incomes, alleviation of poverty and social equality for our farmers.
Continuous education and improving of one’s knowledge on new technology on production and post-production of coconut is also supported under the law, with an allocation of 8% of the budget that would be implemented by government agencies for training.