ROADMAP  Coco farmers to map out plan for P100B levy fund use

The Philippine Coconut Authority has called on coconut farmers to help draw up roadmaps that will serve as the basis of accessing coconut levy funds for their communities.

“The roadmaps can begin from the municipal to the provincial levels,” said PCA administrator Romulo “Billy” de la Rosa on Friday in Davao City.

De la Rosa placed at P105 Billion to P110 Billion the total amount of coconut levy funds that have accumulated over the past 40 years.

He said the road map should contain specific programs and projects that will be implemented in the communities using funds from the coconut levy.

He said the participation of coconut farmers is the key to ensure that projects and programs will eventually lead to addressing poverty and to triggering growth and raising income.

At the same time, De la Rosa has called on coconut farmers to register in their provinces to enable them to participate in the crafting of development roadmaps.

“Their registration is the key to their availing themselves of levy funds in the form of specific projects and programs,” he said.

He said specific roadmaps should include the process of production (replanting, fertilization, processing) and the putting up of enterprises and facilities arising from the by-products of coconuts to bring about ‘coconut hubs’ in the communities.

He said scholarships as well as insurance and credit facilities can be inputted with the objective of coming up with a holistic development programs.

Of the total amount of levy funds, P75 billion came from the sale of San Miguel Corporation’s sales of stocks.

The PCA administrator said that in addition, Congress has approved the appropriation of P5Billion annually

As fleshed out by Congress, the levy fund is programmed to be spent by stakeholders for the next 25 years, with the roadmaps as basis for accessing the funds.

Congress has also mandated that the levy funds will be managed jointly by an 11-member PCA board to comprise the following: PCA administrator, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Finance and Budget, two coconut farmers each from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and one representative of the manufacturing industry.

De la Rosa advised coconut farmers to increase production and to propose enterprises that will maximize what is suitable and viable. (JKL)