ILOILO CITY – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday urged participants in the three-day National Coffee, Cacao, and Coconut (CoCaNut) Congress 2023 to seize available opportunities as he cited the role of these industries in the country’s socio-economic development.
Organized by the Panay Organization for Progressive Agriculture (POPA), the congress formally opened at the Iloilo Convention Center in this city on Wednesday and will run until Nov. 10.
In the President's keynote message delivered by Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban, Marcos emphasized the need to strengthen “our production capabilities and extend our reach beyond our borders to increase the international demand for our fine coffee, cacao, and coconut produce.”
This would not only boost economic prospects and showcase the world-class quality of the country's agricultural products, but would also create countless job opportunities and economic growth for businesses, farmers, and local communities, the President said.
He added the government has been implementing strategies under the coffee and cacao industry roadmaps for 2021-2025 to increase production and meet the demand for local and foreign markets.
Seed systems for the coffee industry to expand tissue culture laboratories and improve the quality of seedlings are being established while there is a continuous expansion of areas for the production of cacao.
“We are linking coffee and cacao growers and processors to big industrial markets to improve market access of producers and increase their income,” he said.
The implementation of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan is ongoing to rehabilitate the industry and increase productivity.
The Seed Farm Development Project will augment the source of coconut seedlings while the institutionalization of the Enterprise Development Project will empower coconut farmers.
“Rest assured, the government will remain committed not only to the development of coffee, cacao, and coconut industries but also to the advancement of all agricultural products and services,” he added.
POPA cooperative President, Dr. Louie Tirador, in his message, expressed his desire for participants to have enhanced knowledge and skills to become better partners in improving the said industries.
“We embark on this congress with the desire to inspire more farmers, industry players, and policymakers to pay more attention to the opportunities that these three commodities can give us. Our fertile lands are ripe and ideal for coffee, cacao, and coconut,” he said.
The congress with the theme, “Thriving and Innovating through Changing Climates” was also graced by Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food chairperson Senator Cynthia Villar, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr., Tourism Regional Director Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez, Agriculture Regional Executive Director Dennis Arpia, and Western Visayas Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Council (RAFC) chairperson Buen Mondejar.
The three-day congress will cover topics including the global outlook of coffee and cacao and the coconut industry in the local and international scenario, the economic and value chain of CoCaNut, government initiatives and financing schemes for farmers, and innovations to boost the competitiveness of local production. (PNA)