Press Release
April 16, 2013

Cayetano Pushes for Coco Coir Industry Growth

Senator Alan Cayetano pushed for the development of the Philippine coco coir industry anew after taking his Listening Tour to Sariaya, Quezon over the weekend.

The senator personally spoke with coconut farmers and coco coir factory workers after being given a tour of the coco coir factory of Pilipinas Eco Fiber.

In a radio interview yesterday morning, Cayetano lauded the efforts of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to infuse the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) with an additional P2 billion in order to push the country to be one of the top three exporters of coco coir in the world, adding, "But I want to take the DTI goal a step further and push to make the Philippines the Coco Coir Capital of Asia."

Cayetano wants the government to maximize the potential of the coco coir industry to become a major stimulant of the Philippines' economic growth. "Over the past 10 years, the coco coir industry has become a million-dollar industry for the country. But it has the potential to be a billion-dollar industry," he explained. "If this industry is properly developed, it will result in increased income for the local government, for business enterprises, and most importantly for laborers and farmers and their families."

The senator added this in reaction to hearing about the plight of Mang Eladio, a supplier of coconut husks who used to sell husks at P0.30 per piece but now sells it for just P0.27 per piece because of the lack of demand. "It is unfortunate that while our natural resources provide us this potential for income, we still have farmers like Mang Eladio who need to bring down prices to as low as P0.27 per husk just to put food on the table of his family," Cayetano observed.

The coco coir industry contributed an annual average of US$ 1.773 million from 2001 to 2010, according to the Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA). Meanwhile, the Philippine Coco Coir Exporters Association (Philcoir) estimates that utilizing even half of the 12 billion husks produced, or six billion, and processing them into fabrics and organic fertilizers could yield at least US$225 million in annual export receipts.

Cayetano also emphasized that coco industries across the nation must be developed. "If Quezon joins hands with other provinces like Davao, where the coco coir industry exports made P18.7 Billion from January to February alone, imagine the potential for the country and for every Filipino family who will benefit from this industry growth" he said. "It's a gold mine."

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