DA allots P200-million loan for coconut farmers

DA allots P200-million loan for coconut farmers

- in Philippines
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A Filipino coconut farmer. Photo from Inquirer.net.

In response to the drop in global market prices for copra, the government, through the Department of Agriculture, will be allocating at least P200 million worth of loans for coconut farmers and workers. The low-interest loans should help farmers recoup their losses and cushion themselves against leaner profits, said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol.

Due to market oversupply, prices for copra have sunk to P15 per kilogram this year. Last year, the price was P40 per kilogram.

According to Piñol, the DA’s Agricultural Credit Policy Council will set aside the amount from its existing loan funding for the Production Loan Easy Access program, another government initiative to make funding more accessible and affordable to agricultural workers.

The coconut farmer loan will have 6-percent annual interest. It’s intended to be used by  farmer groups as working capital to buy copra from their members, to be sold directly to oil mills. This system would ensure income to the individual farmers and keep the production line of copra moving, despite lowered market prices.

“It is an attempt to cut out the traditional compradors who serve as the link between the disorganized coconut farmers and the copra traders or the big oil mills and who in the process make more money than the farmers,”  said Piñol in a post to his Facebook page on Monday morning. Piñol often takes advantage of social media to spread information about the programs of his department.

The Philippine Coconut Authority, which was returned in September this year to the office of the DA, has also been instructed to source additional funds to supplement the loans.  Secretary Piñol said these are to be used to provide machinery to coconut farmers, such as hauling trucks or modern dying facilities to ease the labor of production.

“By mid-2019, community-level processing facilities to produce coconut oil, virgin coconut oil, coco chips, syrup, sugar and coir will also be established in the different coconut-producing regions of the country to be owned and operated by the farmers themselves,” said Piñol of the development plans for the coconut sector.




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