Antiqueños urged to plant more coconuts
by PS Mabaquiao
San Jose, Antique (15 August) -- "Coconut is a tree of life" as a popular saying goes, so we urged Antiqueños to plant more coconuts for food, shelter, alternative fuel and many other uses for man to survive, said Merlyn Sales, Manager Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) here.
Planting more coconuts supports food security program including business enterprises. With the emergence of modern technologies, food products made of coco fruit have flourished, coco lumber and coconut shingles are in demand, prices of cooking oil have gone up, the more reason we need to campaign for more farmers to engaged in coconut plantation, stressed Sales in an interview.
Devastation brought about by natural calamities like what we have experienced during Typhoon Frank which destroyed about 13,265 coconuts, leaving the town of Pandan hardly hit with 5,188 coconut trees gone, contributes to the decreasing number of coconut trees.
The Philippine Coconut Authority is doubling its efforts in the restoration of coconut plantation through its Participatory Coconut Planting Program under the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF)Safety Net Program.
In Antique, A total of 1, 064 coconut farmers have participated in the program. For every seed nuts grown, the PCA through the CIIF will give farmers an incentive of P7.00, this is phase 1 of the program. The farmers are now waiting the release of P974,064.00 incentives after planting 139, 152 coconuts provincewide. Documents supporting the claims of the farmers are now in the central office.
"After growing coco seed nuts, farmers is still entitled to additional incentives of P5.00 for planting and another P20.00 for growing one coconut which all summed up to P32.00 each.
Administrator Oscar Garin said that PCA is carrying out three short-to-long term initiatives that will involve the massive fertilization, intercropping and planting of coconuts to sustain the growth of this top Philippine Export. (PIA Dispatch)
Meanwhile, PCA here is strictly implementing the moratorium on cutting of coconut trees for commercial lumber purposes except if it poses hazard to lives and properties or damage by calamities.
Sales also alerted the public on the threats of Brontispa though Antique remains brontispa-free, however, if preventive measures are not in placed pest from neighboring provinces can easily spread in the province. "We appeal to the local government units to prohibit the entrance of ornamental palm trees which can be carriers of the pest," Sales concluded. (PIA) [top]