Magsaysay calls for gov’t aide to coconut industry

FORMER Senator Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay Jr., urged the government to provide adequate technical and logistical support to the Philippine coconut industry to ensure that the volume and quality required by international buyers are met.

Magsaysay issued the call in a move to maintain the average 33 million metric tons of coconuts in various forms that the country ships to 100 countries around the world.

Magsaysay said the exportation of coconut which other countries use as raw materials in the manufacture and preparation of a wide range of food, medicine, lubricant, healthcare and personal care products and various other finished and intermediate goods that accounts for the strong global demands, has been generating an annual export earnings of US$35.4 million.

Magsaysay, former chairman of Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, is currently the chairman of state-controlled CIIF Oil Mills Group that runs and manages the Legaspi Oil Company Inc., San Pablo Manufacturing Corp., and Southern Luzon Coconut Oil Mills, Inc.

The former senator cited said government could help improve and expand the in the post-harvest cycle of the coconut industry to make it more accessible to small coconut farmer cooperatives and small and medium enterprises.

Magsaysay likewise noted the need to put up mini-processing plants near coconut farms, which will not only provide substantial cost savings for farmers in terms of fuel expense, but also improve the quality of copra and other by-coconut by-products.

Magsaysay said if the proposed logistical support will be set up, it will draw positive domino effects in terms of job employment in the countryside and improvement in the local economy in coconut-producing provinces.

The son of former President Ramon Magsaysay likewise urged the government to align local economic activities in coconut-producing provinces with the programs of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippine Coconut Authority and other government line agencies to give rise to a truly integrated farm management.

Magsaysay also proposed the development of public-private partnerships, as well as the deployment of provincial and municipal resources for extension services.

“We have grown so used to the high-earnings from coconut that we have taken the industry for granted. However, coconuts are inexhaustible. In fact, they are being depleted by conversion of coconut lands to subdivisions and other commercial developments,” Magsaysay said.

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