DA prepares massive coconut replanting

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) plans to embark on a massive coconut planting and replanting to boost production and increase exports.

“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. said at the inaugural International Scientific Conference on Research and Development Monday at the University of the Philippines’ campus in Los Banos, Laguna.

He 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.

Data showed that of the Philippines’ 82 provinces, 68 are coconut producers, with Davao Oriental as the biggest.

The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) said coconut exports reached $3.2 billion in 2022.

“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.

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 its 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.