Press Release
September 6, 2011


Vancouver, Canada--Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged the government to create an institution that will focus on the growth and development of the Philippine coconut industry.

This remark was prompted by reports from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) showing that 14 percent of the country's 320 million coconut trees are beyond their peak years. This is equivalent to about 44.8 million coconut trees with little or no yield.

Coconut farms cover more than a quarter of all agricultural land in the Philippines, with seven out of eight provinces considered as coconut areas--or almost 2,000 coconut municipalities.

"We must encourage these coconut farmers, especially the small-scale tillers, to plant more coconut trees to replace the ones that have become unproductive. To do this, we must offer an incentive to make up for the waiting period before the new seedlings grow--and this is where a new government body comes in," said Angara, who is presently in Canada for the meeting of the Executive Board of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC).

Last year, Angara authored Senate Bill No. 2051, or the Coconut Industry Development Act, which seeks to create a corporate body known as the Philippine Coconut Industry Development Authority (PHILCIDA) in order to promote the continuous development and growth of the coconut industry.

The body shall be tasked with maximizing the earnings of small coconut farmers and their families through the implementation of new policies in processing and transportation, research and development, marketing and promotion of the coconut products.

"With so many Filipinos dependent on this industry living in poverty or getting by through subsistence farming, we must ensure that this sector is steered toward higher productivity and profitability," explained Angara.

The said bill has been referred to the Committees on Agriculture and Food, Government Corporations and Public Enterprises; Ways and Means, and Finance after the First Reading.

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