Marcos vows to support planting of 100M coconut trees

Marcos vows to support planting of 100M coconut trees
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PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has reiterated his commitment to fully support efforts that aim to plant 100 million coconut trees, which can make the country the world’s top exporter of coconut.

Marcos presided over a meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council-Agriculture Sector Group (PSAC-ASG) on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, where they discussed recommendations on the development of the coconut industry and other agricultural products.

PSAC Agricultural Sector Group Member Christopher Po of Century Pacific Group raised the need to accelerate the launch of the massive coconut tree planting program by increasing the seed nut production.

The government plans to have 100 million coconut trees planted by the end of the Marcos administration, but Po said it is not feasible due to limited funding.

Marcos assured there will be enough funding to support the program.

“This is really a great opportunity for the country. We have a chance to do it because [of] the market. Every single part of the nut [has] use and can be sold,” he said.

In order to achieve the goal, the Philippine Coconut Authority was tasked to outline a roadmap to accelerate the launch of the coconut planting program, as well as to enter into contract farming with local salt farmers to supply salt as fertilizer, which is a practical means of increasing coconut production.

The PSAC said a P2.5-billion budget is needed for the fertilization of 55 million coconut trees and doubling of local salt production, which could lead to 25 percent increase in nut productivity and additional profit to farmers.

For this year, the PCA aims to replant 8.5 million coconut seedlings in 59,744 hectares. It also intends to fertilize 2.8 million trees in 28,341 hectares.

The advisory body also recommended for the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and LGUs to pilot areas for salt production.

Under Republic Act 11985, or the Philippine Salt Industry Act, all LGUs shall identify the appropriate areas for local salt production in their respective localities.

It also urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a roadmap for the gradual implementation of the Biodiesel Act increasing biodiesel from B2 to B59 over three years.

The DOE through consultations conducted by the National Biofuel Board (NBB) intends to issue a circular on gradually increasing biofuel blends from B2 to B5 by 2026 for greater energy self-sufficiency and reduced CO2 emissions.

The implementation of the mandatory one percent blend increase in 2024 was moved from July to August 2024. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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