To be the Philippines’ world-class pili products hub is Albay’s vision as the province explores opportunities for pili product development in partnership with the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP).
In a Provincial Commodity Investment Plan (PCIP) Stakeholders’ Consultation attended by key players in pili’s value chain in Albay on March 14, 2017, pili farmers, traders, and representatives of government agencies shared their insights about the current situation of the pili industry in the province particularly the constraints and development gaps that need to be addressed.
Farmer-leader Bertito Laganson shared that currently, pili farmers and farm owners benefit from their farm produce on a minimal basis due to difficulty in harvesting while Jacinto Alexis Elegado, provincial director of Department of Science and Technology-Bicol cited the pili industry’s problem on unavailability of farm-to-market roads and post-harvest facilities.
“Basta pili, Albay yan and subsidiarily, Bicol (Pili is inherent to Albay and subsidiarily to Bicol),” Elegado said. However, he stressed the need to upgrade the province’s quality standards by investing on nutritional analysis and technically and scientifically-proven shelf-life testing to capture both the local and international markets.
In addition, DA-Bicol’s High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) Coordinator Rosita Imperial recommended investing in accredited pili nurseries to address scarcity in supply of planting materials.
The pili stakeholders envision to mechanize pili harvesting and product processing and generate additional income by investing on accredited pili nurseries and exploring other pili products like pili pulp oil and pili elemi. They also visualize the establishment of several processing centers for both food and non-food pili products in Albay.
At the PCIP Stakeholders’ Consultation, the stakeholders agreed to expand and accredit existing pili nurseries in the first and second districts of Albay, develop a curriculum and NC II accreditation for skilled pilinut cracker, depulper and desheller as well as establish a pili shared service facility.
According to Provincial Agricultural Services (PAS) Senior Agriculturist and Pili Focal Person Arlene L. Vibar, PAS has organized the Albay Pili and Cacao Industry Association (APCIA), a federation of provincial pili producers, traders, processors and assemblers that eyes the development of 1,500 commercial pili plantation-type farms in Albay, one farm planted with 100 pili trees. APCIA is a recipient of a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)-compliant pili processing center worth P3 million from DA-Bicol. With funding support from PRDP, the province targets to procure pili processing equipment.
“Our pili processors now participate in international trade fairs and exhibits. Currently, we want to expand the production and processing of pili pulp oil and pili elemi oil which has high international demand,” Vibar said. She also discussed the potential of pili accessories, furniture and home decoration production using pili shells.
The province has 800 hectares planted to pili. With the assistance of DA, the provincial government has distributed asexually propagated and grafted pili planting materials in various areas in Albay.
Reports from the Philippine Statistics Authority show that in 2015, Bicol is the country’s major pili producer with 6,258 tons or 85 percent of the domestic production. Albay follows Sorsogon as the top pili-producing province with 24 percent share. From 2008 to 2015, Albay recorded the highest growth rate of area planted and harvested to pili with 4.21 percent per year.
The PCIP is a three-year rolling consensus plan between the DA and the local government unit based on the value chain analysis of priority commodities. The PRDP, a six-year project designed to establish an inclusive, value chain-oriented and climate-resilient agri-fishery sector, promotes the mainstreaming of the PCIP in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs of LGUs and concerned non-government institutions. The Project also harmonizes the LGUs’ plans and programs with DA, concerned government agencies, civil society organizations and private sector.
Currently, PRDP-Bicol’s Local and National Level Component (I-PLAN) has generated P1.5 billion-worth of investments from DA and other agencies out of PCIPS on top of PRDP investments. Sixty-eight percent of the total investments were initially funded in 2016 to 2017 while the remaining 32 percent were identified by the agencies for inclusion in the 2018 to 2019 planning and budgeting exercises. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-PRDP RPCO V InfoACE Unit)