PCA allots P30M for coco farmers in Pablo-hit areas

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/08 July) — The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) XI said it has allotted P30 million for the planting of coconuts in areas hit by typhoon Pablo (international name: Bopha).

PCA regional manager Rex Buac said Monday they will distribute the amount by end-August to some 12,000 farmers who will be paid P40 for every coconut tree they planted.

He added the budget arrived just a week ago and his office was still preparing the checks.

The PCA allotted a total of P40 million for the Participatory Coconut Planting (PCP) program in the region.

Buac explained P30 million will go to farmers in areas affected by the typhoon, and P10 M to the rest of the provinces.

The PCA has been implementing the PCP under the “Kasaganahan sa Niyogan, Kaunlaran ng Bayan” (Kaanib) before Pablo occurred in December 2012.

Juvy Alayon, Kaanib project development officer said it is the program of PCA under the seven-point agenda poverty alleviation of President Benigno Aquino III.

“It is a livelihood program with components on livestock integration, community level coconut processing/enterprise development and intercropping,” she said.

Just like in other regions, Kaanib started with one site in Region 11 in 2010, Alayon cited.

“In 2012, we have additional four sites. In 2013, we have a total of 20 sites,” she added.

The PCA-11 aimed to start this year the intercropping program, which is a component of Kaanib, with 2,500 hectares to be planted to cacao, and 1,000 ha to coffee.

Davao Oriental that was hard hit by typhoon Pablo will have 500 ha of coconut plantation to be intercropped with cacao, and 110 ha with coffee, Alayon said.

She said some 38,000 trees of cacao and coffee had been planted in the region under the Kaanib since 2011. Some 3,000 coffee and 10,000 cacao trees in Monkayo were damaged by typhoon Pablo.

Buac said cacao and coffee are suitable crops to be intercropped with coconut trees in the region.

For livestock dispersal, the PCA-11 had dispersed a total of 40 cattle, 20 carabaos, and 205 goats last year, Alayon said. This program aimed to augment the farmers’ income especially when the prices of copra would drop, she added.

The damage wrought by Pablo to the region’s coconut industry reached P7.22 billion with 10,912,807 coconut trees damaged and at least 74,000 affected farmers, according to PCA-11 report as of December 27, 2012.

Davao Oriental was hardest hit with damage reaching P5.85 billion and affecting 62,318 farmers.

Jerry Dela Cerna, chairperson of the Davao Gulf Coconut Farmers Alliance, earlier mentioned that the region has the biggest coconut production, but the government had barely addressed the farmers’ concerns, especially in areas hit by Pablo.

Dela Cerna complained about the fluctuating prices of copra and the unimproved lot of farmers despite the existing technology for value-added coconut products such as flour, skim milk, virgin coconut oil and energy drinks. (Lorie Ann Cascaro/MindaNews)