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PIA Press Release

1st Mindanao Coconut Summit takes centerstage in coco capital of RP

By Neela Duallo

Mati, Davao Oriental (31 July) -- Being the number one coconut producer in the country, the province of Davao Oriental, the local government unit of Mati and the Mindanao Business Council has taken the initiative in addressing the today's plight of the coconut industry, initiate moves to save the industry, and help the coconut farmers so they can hold on, continue to cultivate their land, and bring back the glory of the product that has given both comfort and challenge to the economic lives of the people of the province.

Supposedly slated on June 25-26 as part of the 6th Pujada Bay Festival activities and the 42nd Araw ng Davao Oriental, the 2-day Coconut Summit on July 30-31 hopes to gather hundreds of coconut industry stakeholders to partake in the said historic event.

The Coconut Summit is also another move of Governor Corazon Malanyaon, strongly supported by Mayor Michelle Rabat, to materialize her thrust of maximizing agricultural production.

"It's true, we are the number coconut producer in the country, but this fact has not been divulged from across the country, Now, it's time that the whole country will know that we are," Governor Malanyaon strongly emphasized.

In the pursuit of maximizing agricultural production, the provincial government already had the "Abaca Summit", and the "Rice Summit", all geared towards knowing the situation of the abaca and rice industry, and elicit commitment of revitalizing the industries.

The Governor emphasized that the said measure is the way to face the problem that has been befalling world economies, saying that we have to go back to our land and put them into greater use.

Mr. Louie Rabat, a Trustee of the Mindanao Business Council, sees the Coconut Summit as an avenue to showcase the by-products of coconut.

"Even the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) says that there are many uses of coconut. That's why we do not have to rely and we should not concentrate on copra. You see, when the price of copra went down, a lot of our coconut farmers are greatly affected. So we now see the need of intercropping," he explained.

The price of copra has been a cycle, as noticed by the stakeholders, as there are certain period when it zooms down, and there are also times of the year when coconut farmers enjoy a little comfort from the increase of the copra price.

By-products of coconut include the virgin coconut oil, coconut diesel oil, coco fiber, coco peat, desiccated coconut, among others.

Rabat also stated the fact that a vast portion of agricultural land is not put into use, as there is nothing planted into it.

"We have to instill to the farmers that we must plant variety of crops, depending on the crop that the land is conducive with. There are crops for the upland like coffee, and for the lowland, we can plant cardava," he said.

Topics to be discussed in the Summit include coconut-based food production, cocopeat-based bioorganic fertilizer production, and the prospect of coconut as bio diesel fuel, among others.

Leading the speakers for the forum is Mr. Jesus Arranza, President of the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF).

The 1st Mindanao Coconut Summit is made possible also through the strong coordination of the Philippine Coconut Authority, Davao Region Coconut Industry Cluster, Dept. of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Science and Technology.

Mayor Michelle Rabat is happy to welcome all the participants to the Coconut Summit, a right time to know and see the richness of the potentials of coconut, dubbed as the "tree of life".

It will be held at the Honey's Hotel and Restaurant, Matiao, Mati, Davao Oriental.(ND/Mati,DvoOr.) [top]

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