Gov. Imee Mar­cos pro­poses res­cue pack­age for coco farm­ers bat­tered by co­pra price slump

Palawan News - - EL NIDO -

Ilo­cos Norte Gov. Imee Mar­cos pro­posed a three-pronged res­cue pack­age for farm­ers in the co­conut in­dus­try, where at least 3.5 mil­lion farm­ers are suf­fer­ing from the con­tin­u­ing slump in do­mes­tic price for co­pra. Some co­conut farm­ers barely sur­viv­ing as they are al­ready buried deep in debt and oth­ers no longer har­vest­ing their crops due to low prices. Gov. Mar­cos vis­ited the co­pra-pro­duc­ing prov­inces in Eastern Visayas and the Caraga Re­gion in re­cent weeks and spoke to some co­pra pro­duc­ers and co­conut farm­ers who re­layed to her their dire sit­u­a­tion. “Our co­conut in­dus­try con­tin­ues to suf­fer be­cause of the sup­ply glut in the global mar­ket. What makes this worse is that the slump is hap­pen­ing dur­ing the peak of the har­vest sea­son, which is from June to Oc­to­ber,” said Mar­cos, who is run­ning for sen­a­tor in next year's midterm polls. First, Mar­cos said the gov­ern­ment must ex­tend credit to the af­fected farm­ers in the co­conut in­dus­try, which ac­cord­ing to Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Em­manuel Piñol is “vir­tu­ally in the throes of death.” Sec­ond, Mar­cos said the gov­ern­ment must crack the whip on co­pra smug­glers who are bleed­ing lo­cal farm­ers dry. “We should un­mask these smug­glers and charge them be­fore the proper courts. We should use the full might of the anti-smug­gling law against the un­scrupu­lous peo­ple who profit at the ex­pense of our kababayans,” she said. Mar­cos also en­cour­aged in­vestors to sup­port more in­te­grated co­conut-based man­u­fac­tur­ing plants for value-added prod­ucts such as co­conut wa­ter, co­conut milk, vir­gin co­conut oil, and co­conut flour. Lastly, Mar­cos said mov­ing to­ward a 5 per­cent biodiesel blend (B5) from the cur­rent 2 per­cent will serve as a long-term so­lu­tion to the prob­lem of plum­met­ing co­pra prices.

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