The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) led by the Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC), the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) met with various coconut oil industry stakeholders for the assessment of organic certification in the coconut oil value chain in the country on 25 November 2019 at Makati Diamond Residences.

“Coconut is a million dollar earner. It is one of the country’s biggest commodity in terms share in production and export shares but the industry is virtually challenged. Coconut farmers remain poor and the sector continue to be vulnerable to climate change”, underscored PCA Administrator Roel Rosales in his address welcoming the 60 participants from various government agencies, international organizations, farmers associations and private companies joining the 1st TWG meeting on the Assessment of Organic Certification in the Coconut Oil Value Chain in the Philippines.

DTI Undersecretary Rowel Barba in his key note recognized organic certification, a requirement by most foreign buyers, as one of the major challenges faced by exporters, specially the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). He emphasized that the event, convening multi-stakeholder technical working group, is organized with the ultimate goal of creating a national action plan supporting virgin coconut oil export development and establish a multi-sectoral collaboration framework linking all participants and stakeholders in the coconut oil value chain.

The agenda of the first TWG meeting include the discussion of the policy options and recommendations of the UNCTAD study on Fostering Green Exports through Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) which captured the “preparedness” of the Philippines towards green production and exports of sustainable coconut oil value chain. Participants also examined the current strategies in the sustainable promotion of virgin coconut oil production and exports.

A second TWG session is planned to be convened in early 2020 to finalize the national action plan on the strategies identified in the first meeting.♦

Date of Release: 29 November 2019

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