House approves bill promoting coco industry

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

THE House Committee on Agriculture and Food approved on Tuesday a substitute bill that promotes the coconut industry consistent with the agrarian reform policy of the government.

AAMBIS OWA Party-List Representative Sharon Garin said the substitute bill aims to revitalize the coconut industry by equipping the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) with solid and multifaceted mandate, which focuses on developmental, governmental, regulatory, research and development, and corporate powers and functions.

Garin said the reorganization of PCA allows more representation from the farmers, processors, traders, researches, scientists, and academe comprising seven board seats out of the 11 board seats.

“Since coconut is a long-gestating crop, it is also prudent to fix the term of the administrator of PCA to ensure the full implementation of the policies and programs of the agency,” Garin said.

She said the measure fixes the term of the administrator to six years, adding that the bill creates a non-stock, government corporate entity known as the Philippine Coconut Industry Development Authority (Philcida), which will implement the policy and objectives of the proposed law.

“The PHILCIDA is mandated to formulate and adopt a general program of development geared towards increased farm productivity, through planting or replanting of suitable seedling varieties, rehabilitation and fertilization of coconut, integrated coconut-based farming systems and product processing, and whenever necessary, the construction of related support and infrastructure facilities,” the bill stated.

The bill shall adopt a special program to maximize the yield of small coconut farmers and their farm families, particularly those farms covered by the agrarian reform program of the government.

Garin said the expanded powers allow the development and propagation of new discoveries and technologies which the government can capitalize on.

“This would also allow the government to make the most out of evolving opportunities especially with the underdeveloped niches of the industry,” Garin said.

Committee chairperson Batangas Representative Mark Llandro Mendoza said the bill removes the corporate restriction of PCA to make the agency profitable, sustainable, and development-oriented. (Sunnex)

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