Coco levy law to unlock P90B fund

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    The Department of Agriculture (DA) expressed confidence it will get the financial aid and the budget it requested for next year after the President highlighted the agriculture sector during his State of the Nation Address.

    In a virtual briefing yesterday, DA Secretary William Dar said he is optimistic a law on the use of the coconut levy fund will be enacted soon.

    But Dar said only the interest earnings of the levy will be utilized to unlock the potentials of coconut industry.

    “Just distributing 4 percent at gross added value. If my statistics are correct, we are looking at almost P90 billion,” Dar said.

    More than three million coconut farmers are set to benefit from the plan which may double the current production of 44 nuts per tree to as much as 88 nuts per tree annually after five years.

    “Based on reports, we have 100 million senile coconut trees and they need to be replaced by hybrid to assure higher income from aromatic varieties. We will tap the power of science and technology,” Dar said.

    Meanwhile, Dar said P8.5 billion has been released for the Plant, Plant, Plant Program aimed at increasing local rice production during the wet season. The DA is requesting an additional P21 billion under the second Bayanihan Law.

    Dar said if the P280 billion budget is granted, DA will no longer request for P45 billion for the farm and fisheries sector.