PiAol seeks repeal of Marcos-era ban on mature coco export

DAVAO CITY � Newly appointed Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Emmanuel PiAol said Thursday that he has sought the help of Executive Sec. Salvador Medialdea in a bid to lift a Marcos-era ban on the export of mature coconuts.

PiAol, who officially assumed as Minda chief on Wednesday, 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.

PiAol said unless the Marcos decree is lifted, coconut farmers in the country � who had been reeling from the effects of low copra prices due to the influx of other alternative cooking oils � would not be able to take advantage of the mature coconut market.

I made the request after my oathtaking yesterday in MalacaAang, he said but clarified that he had sought the repeal of the said Marcos decree as early as last year.

PiAol said he got an assurance from Medialdea that the latter would have his recommendations reviewed.

His other recommendations were: temporarily banning the entry of Palm Oil from Indonesia and Malaysia or the imposition of the 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.

PiAol said the country remains to be 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 can take advantage of the demand with the estimated 4thquarter mature coconut output of about four million metric tons.

PiAol said the lifting or repeal of the Marcos decree would mostly benefit coconut farmers in Mindanao. 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 will complement a campaign he started as DA secretary, which is the export of young coconuts to the United States and China. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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