DARONG, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur -- Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol on Friday said farmers need to develop 600,000 hectares for coconut to meet ever increasing demand for the product.
Gracing on Friday the opening of the Diamond Processing Plant of Franklin Baker Company, Inc. in Darong, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, Pinol assured coconut industry leaders on government's support to priority crops like coconut.
Pinol said current statistics show that four million coconut trees in the country are already unproductive while some infested with diseases like the cocolisap.
"Our number two rank in the world as coconut producer may slide down further if we do not start replanting now," he said.
There is a need to replace the old slow bearing trees with new ones and the only way to encourage our farmers to plant coconuts is to give them good price," he said.
He acknowledged the support of Franklin Baker to the farmers as it continuously buys their coconut produce.
While coconut concerns fall under the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), he said the DA will provide support in areas that they can collaborate.
He said there could be changes on the set-up "and we are awaiting the direction of the President."
Pinol invited Franklin Baker to be part of the government initiated trade mission to Russia by the middle of this year, and also in May in the Middle East, saying the company should participate in major trade and investment missions abroad.
Meanwhile, Pinol said that they will focus their programs on the basics of sustainable agriculture, adding that they already completed the First National Color Coded Agriculture Guide Map.
He said this will guide the farmers on what crops to grow in their farms and what fertilizer to apply.
Pinol added they are also in the process of conducting a study on the National Food Consumption Quantification Survey.
He said the continuing survey will determine what foods Filipinos prefer and how much are consumed. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency