An independent lawmaker is calling for a ban on the exportation of raw pili shell and pili seedlings.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman aired the appeal to Agriculture Secretary William Dar even as he called for government backing to tap the potential of pili nut into becoming one of the country’s biggest food export products.
Describing Bicol’s pili as the country’s “king of nuts”, Lagman urged Dar to support the growth of the pili industry in Bicol region and other parts of the country.
In his letter, Lagman said the Pili Industry Development Program (PIDP) should be separately and adequately funded in the 2021 General Appropriations Act to harness the full potential of the pili.
The veteran independent solon stressed the need to develop the pili industry in the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon and Camarines Sur and other parts of the Bicol region and the country where it is suitable for cultivation.
In his letter, Lagman pointed out that there is a critical need for sufficient and continuing government support to encourage development of pili plantations, noting that the pili supply comes mostly from backyard trees.
Extending the shelf life of pili products comparable to macadamia and pistachio is also vital.
Lagman said exportation of pili shell and seedlings should be imposed by government “to protect Filipino entrepreneurs and local pili producers, and maintain the country’s dominance in pili production.”
Further, he underscored that the mechanization of production must be undertaken to support mass production, except for the de-shelling of a pili nut to retrieve a perfect pili kernel which requires the gentle precision only human hands can accomplish in the century-old tradition of pili cracking known as paglitad to Bicolanos which beats any machine.
He underscored the qualities of pili as a “superfood” due to its proven advantages to human health.
According to him, pili nuts contain important nutrients that are important for the body. These are magnesium, potassium and calcium, aside from eight essential amino acids that can contribute to weight loss.
Lagman said pili nuts also help treat insomnia because of high magnesium content that promotes “more restful sleep.”