Philippine readies export of coconuts to US

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) are now preparing for the first shipment of green coconuts to the US which has opened its market to the products.

DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that they plan to hold the ceremonial first shipment of the Green Coconut to the US in July when a delegation to be led by him will visit the Sorghum and Garlic Production areas of America.

Piñol said the DA and PCA will now link up organized  farmers groups with buyers and consolidators in the US.

He ordered the PCA to advise its regional offices to identify farmers who grow the varieties for coco water and meat so that they could be included in the export program.

Piñol added that the DA, initially through its Agriculture and Fisheries Machinery and Equipment (AFME) Loan Program, will provide the equipment needed by the farmers’ groups to prepare their coconut for export to the US market.

According to Piñol, the Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Protocol of the United States Department of Agriculture requires that green coconuts must only have 25% of the husk to be allowed entry into the US.

“This means that farmers need dehusking and packing equipment to ensure that the requirements are satisfied,” Piñol said.

He added that the DA is also ready to provide working capital for the farmers groups so they could buy their members’ produce.

The opening of American market to the country’s green coconuts was the result of the recent visit of  USDA Undersecretary for Agriculture Tom McKinney to the Philippines and assured Piñol that the US will open its market for green coconuts from the Philippines.

Piñol further disclosed that the US market for green coconuts and other high value coconut products is now dominated by Thailand which only has a total of 216,000-hectares planted to coconut compared to the Philippines 3.5-million hectares.

“The Philippine Government now, under President Rody Duterte, has embarked on an aggressive campaign to find markets for Philippine agricultural and fisheries products,” Piñol added.

Earlier, Piñol said that China also expressed interest in importing Green and Matured Coconuts while Russia has opened its market for Philippine fruits, including mango and pineapple.