The Integrated Rural Development Foundation (IRDF) played a crucial role in the recent discussions regarding the draft Philippine National Standard on Coco net, focusing on its classification and specification. Held on March 21, 2024, at the PCA Davao Research Center in Tugbok, Davao City, the event brought together key stakeholders to deliberate meticulously on the draft and provide valuable recommendations.

One of the notable participants, Ms. Amelia Fuentes from the Bulacan Coconut Farmers MPC (BUCOFA-MPC), expressed appreciation for the opportunity to contribute, stating, “Our Cooperative has been producing many by-products of coconut fiber ever since we were established. However, a national standard on the use of coco fiber for use as geonets among others was not discussed until today at least on our side. It was great to be a part of this conference.”

IRDF Mindanao, actively engaged in supporting coconut farmers in the region, emphasized the importance of finding broader markets for coconut fiber and peat, whether for domestic utilization or export. Recognizing the potential of coconut husks and their by-products, IRDF aims to promote economic growth through the valorization of coconut resources.

The draft Philippine National Standard (PNS/PCA 2022-12/05) for Coco Net aims to establish specifications for the quality and grading of Coco Net intended for both local consumption and international trade. Based on various department orders and administrative directives, the standard outlines requirements derived from sound engineering principles to ensure the effectiveness of coconut bio-engineering solutions.

The standard development process involved a Technical Working Group (TWG) comprised of representatives from government agencies, research institutions, and industry stakeholders. Over the years, there have been revisions in policies and directives, with responsibilities for standard development shifting to different entities such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).

The draft standard covers crucial aspects such as the classification of coco net, terminology, minimum requirements, and specifications for raw materials. It guides coir twine used in manufacturing coco net, emphasizing parameters such as diameter, color, twist, and tensile strength.

Furthermore, the standard outlines quality requirements for woven netting, ensuring it is made from high-strength coir twine and meets specified physical and mechanical properties. Detailed tables present minimum mass per unit area, applicability based on water velocity and slope, and other relevant criteria.

By establishing clear standards, the Philippines aims to enhance the quality and effectiveness of coconut bio-engineering solutions for various applications such as soil erosion control, irrigation, flood control, and rehabilitation of degraded areas. These standards not only ensure product quality but also contribute to sustainable development and environmental conservation efforts.

The participation of organizations like IRDF and stakeholders from across the coconut industry underscores the collaborative effort towards advancing the coconut sector and supporting the livelihoods of coconut farmers nationwide. With the draft standard nearing completion, stakeholders anticipate its implementation to further promote the sustainable utilization of coconut resources and bolster economic growth in the coconut-producing region.

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