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PIA Press Release

PGMA orders allotment of P786-M for coco program

Manila (13 August) -- Some P786 million has been ordered by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to be set aside for the Coconut Industry Investment Fund Safety-Net Program (CSNP).

In addition, another P86 million is also allotted for the upgraded insurance program that would benefit some 1.02-million coconut farmers nationwide, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said.

The amount being earmarked by President Arroyo is in line with her commitment to raise farm productivity, particularly, for the coconut subsector during her State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA).

Yap revealed that the DA and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) are carrying out a P107.94 million program to intercrop corn in coconut plantations across the country.

He explained that said intercropping project is a component of the President's Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Program (AHMP) that aims to revitalize new or idle coconut farms and to increase the income of coconut farmers, on top of producing and making available more food for low-income families.

PCA Administrator Oscar Garin disclosed that last year, over 100,000 farmers benefited from a P100-million corn intercropping program of the DA in Bicol and other parts of Luzon to help the coconut sector recover from the devastation it suffered from the spate of super typhoons that hit the country in the second semester of 2006.

This year, the PCA is carrying out three short- to long-term initiatives that will involve the massive fertilization, intercropping and planting of coconut to sustain the growth of this top Philippine export, Garin said.

The coconut sector is projected to recover in 2008 from a negative growth of 5.12% last year, with its expansion expected at 5.57%, as against the original forecast of only 1.42%.

For the first quarter of the year, Garin said the coconut sector grew 5.1%, with its gross earnings increasing 24% to P16.13 billion from P13 billion in 2007.

Meanwhile, the more than 32,000 small coconut farmers in Capiz are expecting an improved farm production and income with the new investment of President Arroyo on the coconut subsector, especially after typhoon Frank devastated more than P20-million worth of coconut plantation here.

Earlier, Capiz PCA Provincial Manager Jeffrey delos Reyes reported that a total of 1,173,136 coconut trees in the province here were destroyed by typhoon Frank affecting about 24,108 coconut farmers. (PIA) [top]

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