Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol announced that the United States of America have opened their market to import coconuts from the Philippines and in coordination, with the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), it prepares for its first shipment of green coconuts.
Piñol plans to hold the ceremonial first shipment of the Green Coconut to the US in July when a delegation will visit the Sorghum and Garlic Production areas of America.
To further enrich the markets, he advised that the PCA regional offices 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.
Due to the Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Protocol of the United States Department of Agriculture, 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 the American market to the country’s green coconuts was the result of the recent visit of US-DA Undersecretary for Agriculture Tom McKinney to the Philippines and he 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 for coconut compared to the Philippines 3.5-million hectares.
It was also mentioned that China also expressed interest in importing Green and Matured Coconuts while Russia has opened its market for Philippine fruits, including mango and pineapple.