THE Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Board said on Friday that it has created a transition committee to be chaired by the Trade department, which aims to ensure a coordinated approach in developing the country’s coconut industry.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) said in a statement that the transition committee will later be absorbed into the PCA’s executive committee.

DA Secretary William D. Dar said the committee is tasked to help the ExeCom in “transitional matters, including governance and management arrangements, and initial program of work.”

“We are jumpstarting the process that will modernize and industrialize the country’s coconut sector, and greatly improve its export earnings with more value-added products,” Mr. Dar said.

“This is a huge game-changer, where all our efforts making use of the billion-peso coconut levy fund will lift our small coconut farmers and their families from abject poverty,” he added.

The creation of the committee was tackled by the PCA Board during a virtual meeting on Monday.

The board, which is currently made up of six government representatives, also approved on Monday the nomination and selection process of three coconut farmer leaders from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, PCA Administrator Benjamin R. Madrigal, Jr. said.

The PCA board is made up of the secretaries of Agriculture, Finance, Budget, Science and Technology, and Trade, as well as the PCA administrator.

During the meeting, Mr. Madrigal also presented other projects for approval, including the completion of the coconut farmers’ registry within 90 days and the crafting of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan, which will be submitted to President Rodrigo R. Duterte for approval within 120 days, among others.

Mr. Madrigal assured coconut farmers that the PCA is “committed to meeting the deadlines to ensure the timely delivery of the benefits they deserved.”

Mr. Duterte last month signed Republic Act 115421 or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act which lets poor coconut farmers benefit from taxes collected from them decades ago, which now amount to around P76 billion.

The act also seeks to declare coconut levy assets as a trust fund. — Angelica Y. Yang