Probe on smuggling of coconut seedlings sought
The anti-smuggling group Fight Illicit Trade (Fight IT) asked government to investigate reports that Philippine coconut seedlings are being smuggled from coconut-producing provinces into China.
BusinessMirror, quoting Fight IT chairman Jesus Arranza, said partially dehusked coconuts are shipped from certain parts of Leyte, Masbate and Samar to the Cebu International Port and to Hainan, where the climate is conducive to growing coconuts.
Arranza said smugglers coconut seedlings at P12 to P13 each. The smugglers reportedly pass on the coconuts to Chinese growers for P50 per seedling.
Every day, he said the seedlings are consolidated in 10 10-wheeler trucks containing 200,000 nuts valued at P2.6 million before shipped to Cebu.
He said smuggling coconuts is like “treason” since the operators are giving away seedlings to Chinese farmers, who could eventually compete with local farmers.
“As you may know, only Indonesia and the Philippines have been gifted by nature with good quality coconut that is envied by other countries, hence, exporting it is tantamount to giving away our comparative advantage,” Arranza was quoted as saying.
Arranza said the export of partially dehusked coconuts is against Executive Order 1016, which protects Philippine coconut exports and the local industry.