MORE than 3 million coconut farmers and workers are now registered with the government’s registry, which serves as the basis for the number of people to be covered by the utilization of the P75-billion coconut levy fund.

Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Deputy Administrator Roel M. Rosales said about 3.11 million coconut farmers and farm workers have been registered with the government since it started updating its registry following the enactment of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund law.

Rosales explained that about 500,000 coconut farmers and workers were added to the PCA’s 2018 list that had about 2.5 million coconut farmers and farm workers.

The PCA’s next step is to conduct an exclusion-inclusion procedure by making the updated farmers’ registry public, providing everyone the opportunity to check the veracity of the list, Rosales added.

“The list will be posted in public spaces where people can easily see them. This allows everyone to see who are listed in the registry and if farmer doesn’t see his name then he shall coordinate with the PCA immediately,” he explained at a recent dialogue with coconut farmers.

“On the other hand, if people would see names on the list and they think they are not coconut farmers or their details are incorrect, they can report it to the PCA for immediate action,” he added.

The PCA official noted that the completion of the initial list of coconut farmers registry would be just in time for the expected rollout of coconut levy-funded programs as President Duterte is expected to sign the industry development plan in early 2022.

Rosales said the PCA will not stop updating its list of coconut farmers and enjoined them to register in order to reap the benefits of the decades-long idled coconut levy fund. “We will not stop at 3.1 million. We hope that more individuals will register in our coconut farmers registry,” he said.

The updating of the coconut farmers registry is mandated by Republic Act (RA) 11524 or the Coconut Industry Trust Fund Act.

Under the law, the PCA must, within 90 days from the effectivity of RA 11524 or until the middle of June this year, complete the farmers registry.

The law requires subjecting the registry to annual verification by the local government units in coordination with the PCA.

The BusinessMirror earlier reported that Duterte is expected to sign the coconut industry development plan in early 2022, setting in motion the much-awaited utilization of at least P75 billion in coconut levy fund that promises to modernize the sector and uplift farmers’ lives. (Read more here: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2021/11/26/duterte-seen-to-sign-development-plan-for-%e2%82%a775-b-coco-fund-in-early-2022/)





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