Board Member Ryan Maminta this week urged the committee on agriculture to find out ways to assist coconut farmers in Palawan affected by the continuing decline of copra prices in the world market.
Maminta pointed out that many coconut farmers especially in southern Palawan are heavily dependent on the industry and are in need of government assistance as the sector continues to struggle.
“I implore the assistance and concrete action of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan through the committee on agriculture to address the continuing decline of the price of copra and have a concrete program to address this problem,” he said.
He proposed that one solution is to find ways to “diversify” the livelihood opportunities available to coconut farmers.
“Kung ang question ay international world market and talagang mababa ang presyo ng copra ay baka naman pwede nating solusyunan at madiversify ‘yong mga kabuhayan ng ating mga copra farmers,” he said.
He also noted that there remains a “big gap” between the profit being made by traders and the farmers’ produce.
“We should address that somehow,” he said.
Board Member Cesario Benedito noted that traders are presently buying copra from farmers at a very low price and selling them at a high price of around P25.00.
“Based on my experience, malaki ang tubo ng traders, for example ang price ng copra ay P13, kapag nabili ‘yan ng trader sigurado ang presyo nyan sa kompanya na pagbebentahan ng trader ay aabot ng P23 to P25. May tubo na halos P10 kaya malaki ang kinikita ng mga traders kaya kawawa talaga ang mga farmers natin,” he said.
Board Member Albert Rama, meanwhile, expressed hope that the bill creating a P100-billion trust fund to benefit 3.5 million coconut farmers, that has been vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte on February, will still be realized.
“Until now we are still waiting for the president on how he will use the coco levy fund that will help the coconut farmers,” Rama said.