The so-called Coco Levy Funds which amount to more than P70-billion is expected to be released soon for various programs that will benefit coconut farmers in the country.
Last March 18, President Benigno S. Aquino III signed Executive Order 180 granting the utilization of the coco levy funds for the benefit of the coconut farmers in a major milestone marking the end of the 40-year struggle for the coco levy.
Sec. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said: “The nation’s coconut farmers are among the poorest. They have been waiting for this for too long. They have fought long and hard for these funds and now, finally, after 40 years, the funds will now be used for the benefit of our coconut farmers.”
Pangilinan is the Presidential Assistant for food Security and Agricultural Modernization (OPAFSAM). He is also the chairman of the board of the Philippine Coconut Authority.
The OPAFSAM and PCA have crafted a roadmap for the utilization of the coco levy funds. This is geared towards the empowerment of the coconut farmers, coco farmers’ organizations and community enterprises through value-adding and diversification of coconut products such as coco coir, Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO), coco milk, coco peat and coco water. Also, it is aimed at increasing farm productivity and farmers’ income for inclusive growth of a sustainable coconut industry.