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Bicol-grown pili nuts hit EU markets

By Keren Anne Bernadas


EUROPEANS now have the opportunity to savor pili nuts, known for their buttery taste and indigenous to the Philippines, mainly cultivated by farmers in Bicol.


The Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division, has successfully introduced the Philippine pili nut to the markets of the European Union and its 27 member states as a traditional food from a developing country.


DA regional executive director Rodel Tornilla shared this development during the fourth Kapihan sa Bagong Pilipinas on Tuesday, June 19.


Currently, the region has 13,435 farmers involved in pili nut production, cultivating 1,795 hectares of land. The Bicol region accounts for approximately 4,938.75 metric tons or 84 percent of the country’s total pili production.


Additionally, Bicol is home to 136 local pili processors with a combined daily volume requirement of about 2,233 kilograms.


“Bicol is known as the country’s top producer of pili nuts. The region’s climate and soil conditions are ideal for growing pili trees, making it a significant hub for cultivating and processing of pili nuts,” Tornilla said.


As pili nuts become Bicol’s flagship commodity under its High-Value Crops Development Program, the DA continues to provide support for projects targeting key agricultural aspects of the entire value chain of pili nut production.


This support includes enhancing pili research, marketing, infrastructure investments, and livelihood assistance. As of June this year, the DA has established two agricultural trading centers in Vinzons, Camarines Norte, and in Pili, Camarines Sur.


The aim is to increase production and efficiency in Bicol commodities, including taro leaves, abaca fibers, and pili nuts.


The seamless farm-to-consumer market chains introduced by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. have expanded to 30 Kadiwa regular sites and six Kadiwa wheels. This provides farmers and entrepreneurs with easier market avenues to sell their products without middlemen.


Furthermore, four composting facilities for high-value crops have been established and are currently operational across the region. Additionally, the DA Bicol has set up research outreach stations to provide vital pili-related research for pili propagation and industry sustainability.


Augusto Fortem of the Albay Pili and Cacao Industry Association expressed gratitude to the government, particularly the DA, for the support received.


“We are very thankful to the DA 5 for supporting us with the provision of planting materials, training, and a pili processing facility with the building,” Fortem said.


Improving the pili nuts industry will contribute to the local economy in the region and provide livelihood opportunities for many farmers and small businesses in the area, Tornilla added. (PIA5/KAB)

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