Press Release
April 17, 2008

Angara calls for additional assistance to coconut farmers

Recognizing the significant contributions of coconut farmers to the country's economy, Senator Edgardo J. Angara pushes for a bill that would provide additional credit assistance to coconut farmers.

"Coconut products are still the number one agricultural export earner of our country. More than twenty million Filipinos all over the country depend on the planting and harvesting of coconuts for their living," Angara noted.

He said that due to the recent glut of palm oil in the world market and typhoons that hit the country last year, our coconut farmers are in desperate straits. "In Southern Tagalog alone, copra sale went down from P22.40 per kg in 2004 to P18.28 per kg. in 2006. Given the situation, farmers are no longer harvesting coconuts. More farmers cut trees and sell them as lumber, instead of harvesting the coconut."

Angara is worried that if this low copra selling price and production continues, the coconut industry will collapse. "This calamity requires emergency action, in order to provide immediate and long-term relief to coconut farmers suffering from the effects of abnormally low prices of copra and other coconut products."

The proposed measure will include income Supplement Projects for coconut farmers to sell their copra and whole nuts at millgate price. It will also provide transport allowance and market assistance to coconut farmers and income support on regular sales of copra and whole nuts.

Angara also underscored the need for the National Food Authority to directly buy copra from the farmers at a threshold price. "It is only through a timely and critical intervention can we save the coconut industry - and the farmers who depend on this industry for their living - and help them overcome this debilitating crisis.

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