Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

DA wants to boost coconut industry productivity to benefit millions of farmers

Author: DA Press Office | 27 November 2023

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is looking at massive coconut planting and replanting to boost production of a sector that accounts for more than a third of the country’s agricultural exports and source of livelihood for millions of Filipinos.

“The Philippines needs to embark on increasing productivity through the cultivation of quality planting materials like [coconut] hybrids and varieties with superior traits,” Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr. told the inaugural International Scientific Conference on Research and Development held Monday at the University of the Philippines’ campus in Los Banos, Laguna.

The event was attended by, among others, representatives from the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research and from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the International Genetic Resources Treaty on Food and Agriculture, the International Coconut Community, the International Coconut Genetic Resources Network, scientists, coconut industry representatives, and local researchers.

The Philippines is the world’s second largest coconut producer, next only to Indonesia, but is the world’s top exporter, shipping overseas around 70 percent of output. Top coconut exports include crude and refined coconut oil, desiccated coconut, copra meal, and coconut water. Around 3.5 million Filipino farmers nurture coconut plantations that cover about 3.6 million hectares across the country.

Despite stable export growth, the coconut industry continues to suffer from declining farm yield that started in 2010 due to infestation and major typhoons; low investments; limited research and development; and poor infrastructure—all keeping many coconut farmers poor.

Laurel said the marching order of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is to modernize agriculture and increase food production to lift millions of farmers and fishermen out of poverty and channel substantial resources to increase coconut production.

Of the Philippines’ 82 provinces, 68 are coconut producers, with Davao Oriental as the biggest producer. The Philippine Coconut Authority had said the coconut industry increased export value in 2022 to USD3.2 billion.

“The novel initiative of [conference] organizers linking science and business to Genetic Resources Conservation, Germplasm Exchange and Use can only be achieved by harmonizing the minds and efforts of researchers, policy makers, and private sector,” Laurel said.

Laurel said the DA will lend support to “unified, responsive and market-driven initiatives” to bolster coconut production and consequently improve the lives of millions of coconut farmers. ### (OSEC Comms)

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