HIGH HOPES. Massive efforts to revive the coconut industry will soon yield results, according to Agriculture Secretary William Dar in a briefing on Monday (April 26, 2021). Dar said the release of the coco levy fund under a new law will contribute to the sector’s growth. (Photo courtesy of DA Communications)

MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is eyeing to reap the fruits of its efforts toward revitalizing the coconut industry in the coming years.

In the last decade, DA Secretary William Dar said the coconut sector's contribution to agricultural gross value added (GVA) remained at an average of 4 percent.

With the newly reconstituted Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), bigger things are expected.

"We expect a dramatic rebound of the subsector in the next few years due to the release of the coconut levy fund by the President," Dar said in his speech at the Department of Finance's Sulong Pilipinas virtual conference on Monday.

The DA-PCA formulates a development plant for the industry that aims to increase the subsector’s contribution to agricultural GVA significantly.

DA data showed that coconut planted on more than three million hectares contributed at least 10 percent to GVA, surpassing banana that is planted on 200,000 hectares only.

"Coconut is a top Philippine export that brings in considerable foreign exchange. Besides, we now have substantial budgetary resources to develop this sleeping giant, thanks to the passage of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Law or Republic Act (RA) No. 11524," Dar added.

Coconut levy

President Rodrigo Duterte signed RA 11524 in February, a legislation creating a trust fund for the coconut industry and its workers using recovered coco levy assets, which were declared state-owned by the Supreme Court less than 10 years ago.

The new law mandates the PCA to craft the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan that will set the directions and policies for the development and rehabilitation of the industry within 50 years.

Performance Governance System

Meanwhile, DA-PCA Administrator Benjamin Madrigal, Jr. also shared in an online forum Monday that they have already submitted the Initiation Stage of the Performance Governance System (PGS).

"The DA-PCA uses the PGS to effectively take its course in refocusing its strategic direction, especially with respect to the implementation of the provisions of the RA 11524," he said.

The PGS is a strategic planning and management tool which translates the vision of an organization into specific, quantifiable, and time-bound strategies and commitments.

It consists of four stages: initiation, compliance, proficiency, and institutionalization.

The DA-PCA said it will proceed to conduct the cascading of the strategy to all its units and personnel through the Strategic Performance Management System, in preparation for its next revalida for the PGS compliant stage, targeted by December 2021, to coincide with the conduct of its Annual Strategy Review.

“Grounded on our core values – commitment, honesty, and competence, the DA-PCA continues to fully commit to this transformation agenda, to achieve our vision to be a globally-recognized institution, championing a market-driven coconut industry – which is ultimately for our coconut farmers and their families, to enable them to directly benefit from a competitive and sustainable coconut industry,” Madrigal said.

On April 23, the DA-PCA was conferred with the Silver Trailblazer Award by the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA).

The DA-PCA started to enroll in ISA’s PGS in 2020 in anticipation of the duties and responsibilities entailed by the passage of RA 11524.

"The conferment of this award by the ISA is a significant milestone in our continuing commitment to institutionally transform the Authority, serving as an inspiration and motivation for the DA-PCA to undergo subsequent revalida in our bid for the institutionalization of the PGS," Madrigal said. (PNA)