South Leyte PCA owes P150,000 to coco farmers
By Bong Pedalino
Maasin City (14 February) -- The provincial office of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) based in this city has owed coconut farmers in the province participating in its intensified coco planting program the amount of P150,000 as of January 31, 2008.
The amount represented the cumulative total of seednuts the farmers had registered under the PCA's "Participatory Coconut Planting Project," where each good, selected nut was worth P 5.00, provided a ready planting area had been identified and pre-inspected by the PCA for the farmer to avail of the monetary incentive.
Manuel Sembrano, provincial PCA Manager, told PIA by phone yesterday that he had reported the said amount to the Regional Office so the payment to qualified farmers by individual checks can start as soon as the funds can be made available.
The special program to entice farmers to plant coconuts started in December, 2007, and its first deadline was January 31, 2008, after which a new deadline has been set on February 29, Sembrano said.
But the project itself has no deadline as it is "a continuing program by the PCA under Administrator Oscar Gagarin in coordination with the Secretary Arthur Yap of the Department of Agriculture", who committed P 1 Billion for this undertaking, Sembrano explained.
He added that the deadline dates were merely used as a reckoning time as Filipino farmers, like any other traits uniquely Filipino, rush things consciously being aware on deadline.
A leaflet on the project disclosed that the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) through its president and chief executive officer Danilo Coronacion has been a major cooperator.
When the seednut has grown to a seedling two feet in height and properly maintained for five months, the farmer gets another P 5.00, then by July this year when the same seedling has been successfully transplanted in the prepared field, another P 20.00 per nut awaits the farmer by November upon inspection of the healthy, grown, stablilized seedling, it was learned.
For Southern Leyte province, where there are seven Coconut Development Officers (CDOs) working on the project, the target is to plant coconuts to an area of at least 1,050 hectares, Sembrano further said. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]