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Copra farmers to benefit from innovative trading solution

ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR, 20 June (PIA) - In a bid to revive the copra industry, Timuay Esteban Bugol, an 80-year-old tribal leader, expressed his desire for copra prices to return to the levels seen during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos Sr., when it reached an impressive Php 60.00 per kilo.

Bugol lamented that prior to the pandemic and and until recently, copra prices have only reached around Php 20.00 to Php 21.00 per kilo. This, coupled with the rising costs of production and labor, where expenses for hauling and labor alone amount to Php 1,800.00 per thousand coconuts, has left copra farmers with very little profit margin.

However, a glimmer of hope has emerged for Bugol and his fellow farmers. The Sagunian Overseas Filipino Workers Association (SOFWA) in their barangay has received support from the government for their “Copra Consolidation and Trading” business.

During a recent groundbreaking ceremony, Bugol expressed his optimism that this initiative would lead to higher copra prices.

“Nalipay ko kaayo aning proyekto nga Copra Consolidation and Trading kay mutaas ang presyo sa kopras kay dili na moagi sa middleman (I am very happy with the Copra Consolidation and Trading because the price of copra will increase as it will no longer go through middleman),” he said.

Bugol revealed that he and Venerando Superable, the benefactor who donated the land for the Copra Consolidation Center and solar dryer, were in discussions regarding the Php 15 million Investment in Rural Enterprises and Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity (I-REAP) subproject of the Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP). This project aims to provide the necessary infrastructure, including a delivery and hauling truck to support the copra industry.

With the delivery truck, SOFWA will have direct access to transport the purchased copra to coconut oil refineries in Roxas, Zamboanga del Norte and Dipolog City. This garnered the attention of 91 beneficiaries, who anticipate higher copra prices for coconut farmers in Vincenzo Sagun.

Superable noted that the town boasts a staggering 6,215 hectares of coconut plantations.

Leading the ceremonial ritual of the Subanen tribe to seek blessings from the land, Timuay Bugol spearheaded the groundbreaking for the Copra Consolidation Center in Barangay Maraya, where the SOFWA, led by Engineer Cerilito Sabellano is also based. (RVC/HTB/PIA9-Zamboanga del Sur/with photos and reports from DA PDRP ZAMPEN)

About the Author

Harvy Bangayan

Information Officer

Region 9

Harvy T. Bangayan earned his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science at the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) and is now pursuing his Master's degree in Public Administration at the same institution. A music lover, he now writes news in Zamboanga del Sur and manages the PIA Zamboanga del Sur Facebook page.

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