DA to formally address decline in copra prices
To formally address the declining copra prices, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to invite leaders and stakeholders of the coconut industry to a national consultation this month.
“While the Executive Order transferring the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), along with two other agencies, back to the DA has yet to be released by Malacañang, I have to act on the coconut industry problems because of growing discontent among coconut farmers who accuse government of not addressing the problems,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said.
Piñol said that last week, a group coconut farmers from Bicol wrote President Rodrigo Duterte a letter, asking him to address the problem faced by their sector.
The farmers cited that from a high of about P50 per kilo years back, the buying price of copra has plummeted to as low as P14 per kilo to date.
They complained that while copra price dropped, the selling price of coconut cooking oil in the market has remained high.
“I initially hesitated in getting involved with the issue because while the President issued a public statement returning the PCA to the DA, I have not been given a copy of the EO yet,” Piñol said.
“As the farmers’ voices of discontent grew louder, however, I decided that I will just have to do something to address the issues,” he added.
Piñol then directed DA Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano to coordinate with the PCA and the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) for the conduct of the national convention this month.
He explained that the convention will not only address the copra prices but other major issues as well like the updates on the Coconut Levy, the national replanting program, and the diseases affecting coconuts in Mindanao.