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Piñol wants repeal of Marcos-era ban on mature coco export

DAVAO CITY – New Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa) Chairman Emmanuel Piñol said Thursday, August 15, he has asked Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to help in lifting a Marcos-era law prohibiting the export of mature coconuts.

Piñol, who officially assumed as MinDa chief on Wednesday, August 14, said the 1985 Presidential Decree No. 1106 should be lifted because of the newly opened global market for dehusked mature coconuts.

Specifically, he mentioned the Chinese province of Hainan, which imports mature coconut from Vietnam, Thailand and India.

“The importers apparently intend to process the whole mature coconuts into high value products like coconut milk, coconut flour and bottled coconut water while at the same time process the coco shells into coco charcoal briquettes,” he said.

Piñol said unless the Marcos decree is lifted, coconut farmers would not be able to take advantage of the mature coconut market. He said for years coconut farmers were reeling from the effects of low copra prices due to the influx of other alternative cooking oils. 

“I made the request after my oath taking yesterday in Malacañang,” he said but clarified that he had sought the repeal of the said Marcos decree as early as last year.

Piñol said Medialdea assured him that the recommendations would be reviewed.

 

The former agriculture secretary said he also recommended to the Palace the following: temporarily banning the entry of palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, or the imposition of tariff; and the increase from 2% to 5% of the coco oil component of the bio-diesel in compliance with the Bio-Fuel Act.

“While the prices of copra have collapsed in the world market, there is now a growing demand for dehusked whole mature coconuts and green coconuts for coco water,” he said.

Piñol said the Philippines was still the third largest coconut producer in the world with about three million farmers.

“If the ban is lifted, the DA hopes to export 1,500 tons of mature coconuts initially,” he said, adding that the country could take advantage of the demand with the estimated 4th quarter mature coconut output of about 4 million metric tons.

Piñol said the coconut farmers of Mindanao would be biggest beneficiaries of the repeal of the Marcos degree. Southern Mindanao or the Davao region is the country's top coconut producer, followed by Northern Mindanao and the Zamboanga region.

He said the export of mature coconuts would complement a campaign he started as agriculture secretary, which is

During his time as agriculture secretary, Piñol said, he pushed for the export of young coconuts to the US and China. This campaign would complement his new thrust to export mature coconuts, he added. – Rappler.com