Alexis Romero – The Philippine Star
June 9, 2022 | 12:00am
Stock image of a coconut tree.
Image by Tongpradit Charoenphon from Pixabay
MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has approved the coconut farmers and industry development plan, which aims to modernize and strengthen the industry.
The approval is contained in Executive Order No. 172 signed by Duterte last June 2.
The crafting of the plan is in compliance with the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act, which required the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) to develop a guide on how to use the funding. The law was signed by Duterte last year.
“There is a need to approve the coconut farmers and industry development plan to increase overall productivity and income of coconut farmers, alleviate poverty and achieve the twin objectives of rehabilitating and modernizing the coconut industry to attain social equity,” Duterte said in the order.
The plan will be implemented by the PCA and other concerned state agencies. It will be reviewed every year to ensure its effective implementation.
To ensure that strategies and programs are responsive to evolving industry needs, the PCA, concerned agencies and stakeholders are expected to revisit the plan every five years, subject to the approval of the President.
Funding for the programs under the plan will be taken from the coconut farmers and industry trust fund and from the regular budgets of implementing agencies.
The trust fund shall be separate from the regular funds appropriated to the PCA.
The coconut farmers and industry development plan provides national programs to establish community-based enterprises; provide social protection for coconut farmers, farm workers and their families; organize and develop coconut farmers; conduct innovative research on coconut processing, production and distribution and integrate the processing of coconut and downstream products.
The Philippines ranks as the world’s number one exporter of coconut products, with average export revenues of P91.4 billion from 2014 to 2018, a recent statement issued by the Department of Agriculture said.
Davao, Zamboanga peninsula and Northern Mindanao are the country’s top coconut-producing regions.
Through the guidance of the PCA Board, chaired by Agriculture Secretary William Dar, the PCA and CFIDP technical writers from the DAP had conducted series of consultations with coconut farmers and industry players, as well as conducted benchmarking, baselining, survey interviews and industry analyses, both at the national and regional levels, to be able to come up with a responsive regional and national plan anchored on the objectives stated in the law.
PCA said the CFIDP also took into consideration the plans and programs of the Regional Development Councils to ensure the active involvement of the local government units in the overall plan.
It added that after undergoing final vetting by the Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Trade and Industry and the National Economic and Development Authority, as provided for in the law, the final draft of the CFIDP was submitted to the President for approval on March 10, 2022.
“After more than four decades of waiting, the law for the management and utilization of the coco levy fund that was enacted last year will now be finally implemented in fulfillment of President Duterte’s campaign promise to our coconut farmers. As the Duterte administration comes to a close, this shall be the lasting legacy of the President in improving the lives and the livelihood of our dear coconut farmers,” PCA administrator Benjamin Madrigal said in a statement yesterday.
The EO states that funding for the programs under the CFIDP shall be taken from the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund (CFITF) and from regular appropriations of implementing agencies.
RA 11524 creates the CFITF, which 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. – Catherine Talavera