The Department of Agriculture’s agribusiness and marketing assistance division of Region 8 (DA-AMAD) will be promoting local coconut agribusinesses under its investment, promotion and market development programs at the country’s largest and premier trade exhibit in agriculture, food and aquaculture.

"Our core programs are aligned with the DA’s advocacy towards sustainable agricultural growth  by providing our farmers and fisherfolk easier access to market linkages and capital that they can use to strengthen their resilience to climate and disaster risks,” said Evelyn Mionda,chief of DA-AMAD.

For the coconut sector in the Eastern Visayas, DA-AMAD is implementing its marketing programs in collaboration with the regional office of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).

DA-AMAD and PCA see diversification as a sustainable way to add more value to the coconut farmers’ products and lessen their dependence on selling their crops as copra, whose prices in the marketare volatile.

Among the coconut agribusinesses that PCA and DA-AMAD have helped promote is E.F. Winery, owned and operated by Mr. Edmundo Fabi, a native of San Fernando, Palo, Leyte.

Fabi’s agribusiness involves processing coconut sap into tuba, or coconut wine, and other coconut-based spirits. Today, he produces at least 1,000 gallons of tuba a month, which are then sold in the local markets.

In Naval, Biliran, the provincial agricultural office along with the regional DA- AMAD, PCA,DENR and DOST agencies has been helping the Villaconsuelo Tree Planters Association kick off its agribusiness of processing coconut sap into organic sugar and vinegar. Cornelio Bringa, the association’s president, said they also intercrop their coconut trees with other crops like coffee, cacao and pineapple.

In Bagong Bayan,Bato, Leyte,DA-AMAD and PCA have been working closely with Renilda Kuizon, proprietor of Lolo  Bobby’s Handicrafts, in promoting its artisanal handicrafts, mostly made from coconut shells, to. the US and other countries in Europe.

Also to be featured is Kuya Ed’s, owned by Franco Noroña and based in San Eduardo, Eastern Samar. Kuya Eď’s is involved in the processing and selling of coconut vinegar.

DA-AMAS also partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industr (PCCI) in organizing the Agribusiness Support for Promotion and Investment in Regional Expositions (ASPIRE) to promote local agricultural products.

The ASPIRE project aims to build the capacity of local farmers and fisherfolks as well as micro, small and medium enterprises to tap market opportunities as well as encourage more investments in agribusiness.

This year’s Agrilink is scheduled on Oct. 3 to 5 at the World Trade Center.

Published in The Philippine Star