Jobless families, out-of-school youth and students looking for summer jobs may consider selling fresh green coconuts in Metro Manila and other major Philippine cities, according to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it is currently designing a program with the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) that will provide participants with transportation and working capital so they can buy young coconuts from farmers.
“The coconut farmers will be organized by the PCA and engaged in supplying the green coconuts, which will be bought for at least P8 to P10 per piece,” Piñol said in his post on his official Facebook page.
Piñol said green coconuts are now sold by ambulant vendors using carts or karitons for at least P35 apiece.
He said the coconuts will be delivered to a consolidation area in Metro Manila where these will be cleaned. From the consolidation area, the coconuts will be brought by the “Coco Vendors on Wheels” to various parts of Metro Manila.
“The program is expected to expand the market for coconut and provide an alternative source of income for coconut farmers who have suffered from very low prices of copra in recent months,” Piñol said.
He said the DA will vet participants and start training vendors on proper handling and hygiene next week.
Piñol said the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has agreed to support the DA’s program to sell young coconuts using multi-cabs or small trucks in populated areas.
He said MMDA Chairman Danny Lim, who attended the launch of the Summer Coco Festival on Thursday, which aims to promote coconut water, has agreed to talk with Metro Manila mayors to allow vendors on wheels to sell fresh coconuts.
The MMDA has been clearing Metro Manila streets of obstructions, including ambulant vendors who impede traffic.
“Chairman Lim said that since the Coco Vendors on Wheels are mobile, these are not expected to obstruct movements in the streets,” Piñol said.