The Department of Agriculture (DA) hopes to develop a strong palm oil industry and to establish a viable product via a profitable venture.
During a recent summit in Cebu City, the DA-Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) bared the draft of the first oil palm industry roadmap for 2014-2023, in response to the critical need to develop the oil palm industry of the country.
The summit was attended by representatives from Philippine Palm Oil Development Council Inc. (PPDCI), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), University of Mindanao, local government units (LGUs) and private stakeholders.
“We believe that palm oil can emerge as another significant agricultural crop if we work hand-in-hand in nurturing and development of the oil palm industry,” PCA Administrator Euclides Forbes said.
Based on the roadmap, PCA aims to develop the oil palm industry through gainful production, processing and marketing of oil palm products and by-products, and make it a dynamic, innovative and self-sufficient industry that complements the coconut industry. The aim is to develop at least 300,000 hectares for palm, and add a milling capacity of about 500 tons an hour.
PCA also hopes to establish strong partnerships with the private industry players, as they show a growing interest in developing the palm oil industry.
To date, the country has 56,641 hectares of land planted with bearing and nonbearing oil palms. Oil palm experts estimate that there is a total of about one million hectares of land suitable for oil palm plantation expansion.
Carlos Carpio, PCA deputy administrator for Research, Development and Extension Branch (RDEB), assured that no trees will be cut just to give favor to the planting of oil palm trees.
“Those lands which are considered for oil palm plantation expansion are idle and unproductive lands,” Carpio said.
For his part, PPDCI Secretary Dr. Pablito Pamplona called for shared social responsibility among big oil palm plantations.
Pamplona said that PCA and PPCDI are insisting that no new forest would be felled or burned down, unlike the much criticized practice in Malaysia and Indonesia in expanding oil palm plantation wherein forest, peat lands, and wildlife habitat were destroyed.
Oil palm industry continues to generate jobs for the farmers just like the coconut industry and by the end of 2023, a total of about 300,000 farmers shall have benefited from the industry development.
The surging demand for palm oil in the international and domestic markets is driven by the discovery of its many uses, and an increasing global population.