Cayetano wants PHL to emerge coco coir capital of Asia

April 17, 2013 4:21 am 

MANILA, April 16 — Sen. Alan Cayetano has lauded efforts of the Dept. of Trade and Industry to develop the coconut industry, saying the Philippines can emerge the coco coir capital of Asia.

”I want to take the DTI goal a step further and push to make the Philippines the Coco Coir Capital of Asia,” Cayetano said in radio interview during a listening tour in Sariaya, Quezon over the weekend.

Cayetano said the efforts of the DTI to infuse the Philippine Coconut Authority with an additional P2 billion would push the country to be one of the top three exporters of coco coir in the world.

He said government should maximize the potential of the coco coir industry to become a major stimulant of the Philippines’ economic growth.

"Over the past 10 years, the coco coir industry has become a million-dollar industry for the country. But it has the potential to be a billion-dollar industry," he explained.

"If this industry is properly developed, it will result in increased income for the local government, for business enterprises, and most importantly for laborers and farmers and their families,” Cayetano added.

Cayetano made this reaction after hearing about the plight of Mang Eladio, a supplier of coconut husks who used to sell husks at P0.30 per piece but now sells it for just P0.27 per piece because of the lack of demand.

"It is unfortunate that while our natural resources provide us this potential for income, we still have farmers like Mang Eladio who need to bring down prices to as low as P0.27 per husk just to put food on the table of his family," Cayetano observed.

The coco coir industry contributed an annual average of US $ 1.773 million from 2001 to 2010, according to the Fiber Industry Development Authority.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coco Coir Exporters Association (Philcoir) estimates that utilizing even half of the 12 billion husks produced, or six billion, and processing them into fabrics and organic fertilizers could yield at least US 5 million in annual export receipts.

Cayetano also emphasized that coco industries across the nation must be developed.

"If Quezon joins hands with other provinces like Davao, where the coco coir industry exports made P18.7 billion from January to February alone, imagine the potential for the country and for every Filipino family who will benefit from this industry growth" he said.

Cayetano said the coconut industry is “a gold mine." (PNA)

HBC/JFM

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