THE Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and coconut farmers hope to plant 100 million coconut trees before President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. steps down in 2028.
The PCA, Confederation of Coconut Farmer’s Organizations of the Philippines and the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Wednesday, citing the need to reinvigorate the coconut industry.
In a briefing, PCA Administrator Bernie F. Cruz said that the average yield of the tree is 44 nuts a year, which is expected to improve with the planting of new varieties.
“We will be able to plant new varieties. We can double the yield of 44 nuts per year and increase farmer incomes,” he said.
The PCA will also encourage crop diversification, coconut processing by small and medium sized enterprises, and coconut research and development.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), coconut oil was the Philippines’ top agricultural export, valued at $1.43 billion in 2021. Desiccated coconut ranked fourth at $396 million, and copra oil cake 10th at $67.54 million.
He said that non-traditional coconut products such as virgin coconut oil, coconut concentrate, and coconut milk are growing their share of export earnings “rapidly.”
“We expect to significantly increase coconut productivity, boost diversified production, and engage more of our farmers in higher value-adding activities, which would contribute to economic growth and substantially increase and even double farmer’s incomes,” he said.
Mr. Cruz said the planting materials are currently being gathered, while the implementation details for the MOU have yet to be determined. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera