Senator Loren Legarda on Thursday encouraged coconut industry stakeholders to support the programs of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), particularly the practice of sustainable farming, to ensure continuous development of the industry and maximize the benefits gained from it.
Legarda, who was guest speaker at the National Coconut Week celebration held at the PCA Building in Quezon City, noted that the country gains much from the coconut industry.
According to PCA, the country earns as much as US$ 2 billion in exporting various coconut products, including coco water and virgin coconut oil. Export rate for coco water increased 300% in the first quarter of 2012 and has earned the country more than US$ 4 million while export rate for virgin coconut oil for the first three months of 2012 rose to 138% with earnings worth US$ 7.5 million.
“These figures alone give us more reason to further improve coconut farming and continuously develop the coconut industry, and I wish to congratulate the PCA for its laudable programs for the industry, including the national coconut planting and replanting; institution building, which is very important to give our coconut farmers the capability to be entrepreneurs and to have their own growing income through the continuous learning of methods in developing their farms; and the livelihood program dubbed as Kasaganahan sa Niyugan ay Kaunlaran ng Bayan,” Legarda said.
The Senator also said the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009 (RA 10000), which she authored and sponsored, can provide support for farmers as the law requires banks to allocate at least 25 percent of their loanable funds to the agriculture sector, and that modes of alternative compliance must only pertain to activities directly related to agriculture and agrarian reform to ensure that funds are channelled to farmers.
“The theme for this year’s celebration, Masaganang Kinabukasan Mula sa Niyugang Inalagaan, clearly sends the message of gaining from the tree of life by ensuring its sustainability,” she stressed.