Coco levy funds must directly benefit farmers
As the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) embarks on talks about the management of the P75-billion coco levy funds, Senator Kiko Pangilinan said the agency must not forget the coconut farmers.
“The discussions on the proposed Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan and the huge amount involved could get us off track and lost in technicalities, leaving on the sidelines the genuine concerns of the farmers that need to be addressed,” Pangilinan said.
“We urge the PCA to conduct consultations with coconut farmers groups to have a real perspective on their condition and determine how the development plan will be truly beneficial to them,” he added.
According to him, the strong participation of the coconut farmers will ensure that the Coco Levy Trust Fund will stay on course of promoting the interests of farmers and the coconut industry.
He said that “it’s a tragedy” that to this day, the marginalized coconut farmers who should have benefited from the levy have not seen the fruit of their forced contribution.
“We are also optimistic that the bicameral conference committee will be able to come up with a harmonized version that is responsive to the needs of the farmers,” he further said.