40K farmers to benefit from coco levy fund
By Mark A. Gomez
The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Camarines Sur manager has announced that over 40,000 coconut farmers in the province are expected to benefit from the Coconut Levy Trust Fund Law or Republic Act (RA) 11524 with an allocated fund of P75 billion, which will be fully implemented before the end of the year.
John Villareal, PCA Camarines Sur manager, said that RA 11524 will be fully implemented and the mode of execution will be spelled out upon approval of President Rodrigo Duterte of the Coconut Farmers Development Plan (CFDP).
He said in order to qualify as beneficiary, a coconut farmer should not own more than five hectares of coconut farm land; personally tills the coconut farm or in case he does not till the land, he should have control and supervision over the cultivation of the coconut farm; he should be a lease holder or tenant in charge of not more than five hectares of coconut farm, or aq farm worker or laborer, whether seasonal or itinerant.
Coconut farm laborers and farm workers are the priority of this fund, he added.
According to Villareal, the coconut levy trust fund will be distributed to various government agencies, which will help the beneficiaries to boost their income and coconut farming knowledge. These agencies are:
PCA will give aid in terms of development of hybrid coconut seed of farms, while the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will assist in the research and development of coconuts. The Technical Education Services Development Authority (TESDA) and Agriculture Training Institute (ATI) will handle the trainings of beneficiaries in connection to coconut farming.
For its part, the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) will help farmers in the promotion and marketing of coconut products. Department of Agriculture (DA) for farm improvements. Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) for insurance of beneficiaries; Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) for facilities and equipment for coconut farming; Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) for organizing and empowerment of beneficiaries ; DBP and LBP for credit program of beneficiaries.
DPWH for farm-to-market roads. Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for scholarship programs of families of the beneficiary and Department of Health (DOH) for health and medical program of the beneficiaries.
Villareal pointed out that the P75 billion will be divided yearly. The first P10 billion will be disbursed after the approval of the CFDP. Another P10 billion will be released on the second year, P15 billion on the third and fourth years, and P25 billion to be released on the fifth year.
The implementation of this law will last for over 50 years and will benefit coconut farmers and their families, he added
Villareal said that the list for beneficiaries is still open and selection of beneficiaries is still on-going.