PUZZLINGLY LOW  President Duterte asked to look into depressed copra prices

The Philippine Coconut Authority has been asked to alert President Duterte on the ‘depressingly low’ buying prices of copra that continues to alarm coconut farmers in the Davao region.

“Processors are making a killing in this situation of the coconut industry at the expense of P2,200 per month per farmers,” said Ednar Dayanghirang, chief of staff of Davao Oriental Gov. Nelson Dayanghirang.

Dayanghirang said that as a result in Davao Oriental alone, there are 103,000 coconut farmers who reported a total income loss of P1.4 billion for the past six months, since the low price of copra and whole nut was imposed.

Dayanghirang urged the PCA to look into the practice of coconut processors in basing the prices of copra from the whole nut.

“This is should not be the case but it is happening right now,” said Dayanghirang, even as he raised possibility for the office of President Duterte to look into situation.

In a data revealed by the DavOr staff, for the past six months, there has been a 50% reduction in the prices of the copra slipped from P40 to around P20, while from P10.50, the whole nut price slipped to P5.

Dayanghirang said that as a result in Davao Oriental alone, there are 103,000 coconut farmers who reported a total income loss of P1.4 billion for the past six months, since the low price of copra and whole nut was imposed.

“Processors are making a killing in this situation of the coconut industry at the expense of P2,200 per month per farmers,” Dayanghirang said.

Davao Oriental, a 67% coconut crop value dependent province, is nearing into declaring a “state of emergency” to mitigate the problem.

For the meantime, the provincial government is planning to have labor intensive programs wherein children of the coconut farmers can work for the local’s infrastructure projects, along with coastal cleanups in the shorelines of Davao Oriental.

Although Dayanghirang said that PCA has already addressed the issue to the processors and other stakeholders in a meeting in Davao City which the date was not disclosed, but he believes that the agency is not exercising further its mandates in ensuring the safeguard of the coconut farmers.

“Is that the only action the PCA is going to do? To appeal?” He added, “Can you not compel them not to get so much money from the farmers? That is too much.”

He also questioned the legalities of the pricing of the buyers,

“PCA has to do something within the legal bounds of the law, and that the processors of the whole coconut industry should not be based on the pricing of the copra,” Dayanghirang said.

He is also urging the president to look into PCA, the same way the National Food Authority is also being looked into.

Edge Davao has yet to get the side of the PCA regarding this matter.