Sen. Cynthia Villar yesterday called for support to achieve the country’s goal of improving the lives of coconut farmers and the coconut industry.
Villar, chairperson of the Senate agriculture and food committee, was the guest speaker during the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP) Planning Workshop held at ATI Compound in Quezon City on March 20.
In her speech, Villar cited Republic Act No. 11524, or the “Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act” signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on February 26, 2021, and took effect on March 13, 2021.
She said it created the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund (CFITF) which ensures the funding of P80 billion for the next five years. This will benefit 2.5 million coconut farmers and the coconut industry in general.
“The former President said that this law is a historic ‘gamechanger’ that will pave the way to modernizing and industrializing the Philippine coconut sector,” Villar said.
“The law also mandated for the preparation of the CFIDP, which shall set the directions and policies for the development and rehabilitation of the coconut industry within 50 years,” she added.
The utilization of the Trust Fund, she said, shall be in accordance with the formulated plan. It shall also take into account the annual allocation of the Trust Fund provided for by the law, which is: (a) 20% for the development of hybrid coconut seed farms, and nursery for planting and replanting: 15% to be implemented by the PCA; and the 5% by the DOST-PCAARRD for research; (b) 8% for the training of farmers and their families; (c) 5% for research, marketing, and promotion; (d) 4% for Crop Insurance; (e) 10% for the Farm improvements through diversification and intercropping with livestock, dairy, poultry, coffee, and cacao production; (f) 10% for shared facilities for processing; (g) 5% for the organizing and empowerment of coconut farmer organizations and cooperatives; (h)10% for the credit programs through DBP and LBP; (i) 10% for infrastructure development; (j) 8% for the scholarship program for farmers and their families; (k) 10% for Health and medical program for farmers and their families.
“Now is the time to give our coconut farmers, who are considered to be the poorest in our country with the monthly income of only P1,500, the much needed and long-awaited support and attention from the government,” Villar said.