Three coconut cooperatives in Quezon, Albay and Camarines Sur were recipients of a P6 million grant each under the Direct Marketing Project under the Social Amelioration and Welfare Program (SAWP) for biofuel workers which is being managed by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC).
The three cooperatives, namely, Yakap at Halik Multi-Purpose Cooperative Quezon 2 in Padre Burgos, Quezon; Bantonan Community Development Cooperative in Camalig, Albay and Maymatan Multipurpose Cooperative in Goa, Camarines Sur were selected as pilot implementers of the community-based direct copra marketing project or Coco-Mark Project.
The Coco Mark Project is a collaborative project of the DOLE and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) which shall utilize available fund and resources from the Kaanib Coco-Hub Program of the PCA and the SAWP being handled by the DOLE.
Under the project, the coconut farmers through their cooperatives directly sell their produce to the oil millers and/or coconut processors. Their organizations will be the consolidator/trader of copra and nuts from the barangay level to the municipal level. Thus, they hope to get a fair and best market price offering because middlemen are cut off from the market chain. Furthermore, under the Coco-Mark Project, it is envisaged to link the farmers to existing agricultural financial products and services provided by government financial institutions.
The cooperatives, likewise, hope to meet the needs of the biodiesel manufacturing sector for steady supply of feedstock for their continued production and operation, especially now that there is a move to increase the biodiesel blend to the diesel fuel from the current two percent to either three or five percent.
During the ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in the implementation of the Community-Based Direct Copra Marketing (Coco-Mark) Project last 03 September at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), the three cooperatives were handed the checks from DOLE in the presence of PCA Administrator Gonzalo Duque and DOLE Undersecretary Ana C. Dione in behalf of Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III.
PCA Administrator Gonzalo T. Duque remarked that he hopes that the Coco-Mark Project be replicated not only in Quezon and the Bicol Region but in other provinces where coconuts abound so that our coconut farmers may truly enjoy the fruits of their produce by giving them fair and sustainable income.
Undersecretary Dione responded that the DOLE commits to provide further assistance to the cooperatives but to other coconut-producing areas.
“We shall not only provide capitalization for the cooperatives but we hope to replicate the success of the project in other areas,” Dione stated.
Also present during the signing and handing of the checks were Assistant Secretary Benjo Benavidez and BWSC Director Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla. Focal persons of the SAWP from DOLE ROs 4-A and 5 were also present during the event.