Coconut industry to fund new oil mills
MANILA -Industry stakeholders are eyeing the P75-billion coco levy fund to develop coconut processing plants, the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) said.
Floreliz Avellana, chief of PCAF’s planning, monitoring and knowledge management division, said they were in the process of drafting a resolution to address the declining prices of white coconut and the lack of marketing and processing interventions.
PCAF is an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture that facilitates broad-based participatory processes in the agriculture and fisheries sector.
“We are looking not only at the production because the price of white coconut has declined. They (stakeholders) want the development of more processing plants,” Avellana said on Wednesday.
PCAF was given up to 30 days from the consultation, which took place last June 5, to finalize the resolution. But Avellana said it might be released next week.
Avellana is referring to Resolution No. 03, Series of 2023 that recommends the establishment of more white copra oil mills and strengthening initiatives for developing technologies and marketing strategies for white copra.
“This is the resolution we are working on with the PCA (Philippine Coconut Authority) during our last meeting that will be transmitted to [Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban]… that the funds for building more processing plants should be coming from the [coco] levy fund,” she told reporters.
Avellana said that if approved, Panganiban is expected to issue a marching order to the PCA giving the green light for the establishment of white copra oil mill plants.
PCA’s Merliza Bonga earlier said the construction of such facilities is among the priority activities under the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP), which serves as the basis for utilizing the funds aimed at rehabilitating and modernizing the industry.
The CFIDP is seen to benefit 2.5 million small farmers nationwide. According to Bonga, two groundbreaking rites were conducted in Guimaras and Aklan for the construction of oil mills.
Actions plans outlined in the blueprint are classified into different components: social protection; coconut farmers organization and development; hybridization; community-based farm enterprise development; farm rehabilitation and improvement; integrated coconut processing and downstream products; innovative research projects and their practical application on coconut processing, production and distribution, and support services.
Last month, one of the stakeholders said the lack of marketing and processing intervention was the main problem hounding the white copra industry.
“The local industry should focus on updating its marketing strategies, including packaging and labeling, to avoid being left behind by competitors,” said GreenLife Coconut Products Philippines’ Francisco Rubio.
Rubio likewise suggested the utilization of available technologies to sustain the production capacity of farmers and improve the low price of coconut products.