Duterte tells Nograles to facilitate coco levy fund release
Amid falling copra prices and declining income of coconut farmers, President Rodrigo Duterte express renewed for the workers of the struggling sector, years after he promised its stakeholders the long delayed release of controversial coconut levy fund.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Duterte has just tasked newly-appointed Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles to work on the early passage of the legislation that would allow government to use the Coco Levy Fund for the benefit of coconut industry stakeholders.
“The President issued the directive after I took up the issue of very low prices of copra and the hardships suffered by the country’s 4 million coconut farmers during the last cabinet meeting,” Piñol said.
“I told the President that one of the immediate interventions which could be implemented would be a national replanting program which would purchase farmers’ seed nuts at P40 each (not P25 as earlier posted),” he added.
According to him, the program could also result in jobs for coconut farm workers who could be involved in the nursery preparation and planting.
“I also informed the President that the Department of Agriculture (DA) has initiated the crafting of a Coconut Industry Road Map which would identify other high-value products from coconut which could be developed using the Coco Levy,” Piñol said.
Duterte then issued a directive for the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), which is now under DA, to immediately implement an intensified national replanting program.