The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) is celebrating its 27th National Coconut Week on August 28-31, 2013, with the theme “Biyaya ng Niyugan, Kaunlaran ng Bayan.” Highlight of the celebration is the 12th National Coconut Festival Trade Fair, with activities that include a Farmers’ Day, a coconut taste test, a feeding program, a product launch, a book launching, and a coconut sugar standards and safety seminar.
The Philippines is the world’s top exporter of 47 coconut products and by-products to 100 countries. It produces coconut sap sugar, coconut water, virgin coconut oil, desiccated coconut, coco shell charcoal, coconut water, activated carbon, and handicrafts such as coco fiber-made baskets, horse figurines, hats, sofa, cabinets, and products which draw foreign buyers and earn praises in trade exhibits abroad.
Over 3.5 million farmers directly derive their income from the billion-dollar coconut industry, while another 23 million depend on it for livelihood. Of the country’s 12 million hectares of farmland, 3.4 million hectares are devoted to coconut. Of 79 provinces, 68 are coconut-growing areas producing some 15.2 billion coconuts. There are 324 million coconut trees in the country, about 85 percent of which are productive. Coconut farms are widely distributed nationwide; the biggest are in Southern Luzon – Quezon, Laguna, and Bicol – and Davao in Mindanao.
PCA launched on May 20, 2013, its biggest program in the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) area, called “SAGIP” (Sama-samang Aksyon ng Gobyerno, Industriya, at Pamayanan). Aside from massive spraying, the program involves cutting down of old and infested coconut trees, pruning of moderately affected trees, and fertilizing the leaf-pruned and sprayed trees. It is a joint operation by PCA and Calabarzon local government units and barangays. It was instrumental in the approval by the National Biofuels Board of an increase in the biofuel blend from 2% to 5%, that is expected to increase demand for coconut oil.
We congratulate the Department of Agriculture headed by Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and Philippine Coconut Administration Administrator Euclides G. Forbes, in their joint undertakings to place the coconut sector as priority industry cluster for productivity enhancement in the Republic of the Philippines. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!