THE Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) are gearing up for the first shipment, set in July, of green or young coconuts to the United States.

DA Secretary Emmanuel F. Pinol said in a post on Friday that the PCA has already instructed its regional offices to look for farmers who grow the said variety for coco water and meat.

DA will initially provide the equipment needed by the farmers through the Agriculture and Fisheries Machinery and Equipment (AFME) Loan Program. The department also aims to provide working capital so farmers’ groups could purchase members’ produce.

“The DA plans to hold its ceremonial first shipment of the Green Coconut to the US in July when a delegation to be led by the Agriculture Secretary will visit the Sorghum and Garlic Production areas of America,” Mr. Piñol said.

Green coconuts need to only have 25% of the husk to qualify for export to the US as required by the Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Protocol of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Philippine Agriculture Attache to the US Josyline Javelosa confirmed in a statement on Thursday: “The US Government has confirmed that young coconuts from the Philippines may now be exported through all ports in the USA.”

According to a statement by the US Embassy, “young coconuts from the Philippines that are immature/green, and with 75% or more of outer shell surface of the husk removed, can be inspected and released to the United States….”

George Culaste, head of the Philippine Delegation and director of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI), welcomed the development and said local producers, especially from Mindanao, are waiting to tap the export market like the US and China. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang