Magsaysay pushes for creation of roadmap for coconut industry
FORMER Senator Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay Jr. today pushed for the creation of a coconut industry roadmap that will strengthen government’s current economic and social development program for the coconut industry.
Magsaysay said the proposed roadmap for the coconut industry will help sustain the export growth of coconuts and at the same time improve the lives of coconut farmers.
Unknown to many, Philippines is exporting an average of 33 million metric tons of coconuts in various forms such as oil, meal, fiber and even handicraft to 100 countries worldwide, generating export earnings of $35.4 million annually.
Coconuts are used as raw materials in the manufacture and preparation of a wide range of food, medicine, lubricant, healthcare and personal care products and different other finished and intermediate goods, which account for its strong global demand.
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.
“I have always known of the huge export earnings from the coconut industry. But it was only during my 12-month stint as chairman of the CIIF Oil Mills Group that I fully saw its yet untapped and unrealized potentials. It is for this reason that I am giving a stronger push for the coconut industry roadmap,” Magsaysay said.
The former senator, who is running in the 2013 mid-term elections under the administration’s senatorial ticket, stressed that as set in the government’s development plan for 2011-2016, there should be a massive planting of high yielding coconut varieties to complement the replanting activity aimed at replacing senile trees.
Magsaysay added that to fully achieve the objective of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) of planting and replanting 47 million trees on 400,000 hectares of coconut land, there has to be a clear program of action.
Magsaysay likewise stressed that if the full potential is realized, the national coconut production will grow by 25 percent from the present 800 kilogram per hectare to at least 1,000 kilogram per hectare that will in turn double the coconut farmers’ annual income of P20,000 per hectare to at least P40,000 per hectare every year.
“It’s critical that the coconut farmers should benefit, otherwise they will not be motivated to continue farming coconuts and shift to other crops,” Magsaysay said.
Magsaysay, a farmer himself, also said: “The market for traditional coconut products such as crude coconut oil, refined bleached and deodorized oil, dried coconut, copra meal, coconut shell charcoal and activated carbon will always be there and will continue to be the main outlet for the industry.”
Magsaysay likewise encouraged coconut farmers not to discard but to continue to make use of the non-traditional products such as coconut sap sugar, coconut flour, coconut water, and coco diesel among others to truly realize that coconut industry is a sunset industry to many especially to those who know the trend.