NAPC supports coco farmers’ trust fund

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Friday, May 16, 2014


THE National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) supports the filing of the petition for indirect initiatives to enact the Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund Act.

The bill aims to use the recovered coco levy funds to develop the country’s coconut industry and benefit small-time coconut farmers.

“The utilization of coco levy funds to benefit the poor coconut farmers is long overdue,” anti-poverty chief Secretary Jose Eliseo Rocamora said in a statement.

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The initial capital of the Trust Fund will come from the recovered monies of the coco levy funds, starting from the proceeds of the Coconut Industry Investment Fund–San Miguel Corporation (CIIF-SMC) Series 1 preferred shares and its dividends, amounting to around P70 billion.

The Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund will assist marginalized coconut farmers to develop coconut-based enterprises that can compete in the global market.

“And more importantly, these coco-based enterprises aim to immediately increase their incomes,” Rocamora added. “On average, a poor copra farmer earns only around P3,000 a month.”

The bill also proposes a committee of fifteen members, headed by the President, that will run the Trust Fund. Four of the members will come from government agencies, six from farmers’ organizations, two from NGOs known for their reform advocacies in the sector, and two bankers.

“The indirect initiative of small coconut farmers is historic because it shows that the farmers themselves are taking matters into their own hands, filing a bill that they all support and doing the spade work in Congress. I do hope it gains the immediate support and approval of the legislature,” said Rocamora. (NAPC)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 16, 2014.

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