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PIA Press Release

Mulch your coconuts, protect them from El Niņo, PCA advises farmers

by Venus G. Villanueva

Kalibo, Aklan (10 February) -- The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) here is advising coconut farmers to mulch their coconut trees to protect them from the ill-effects of El Niņo.

The El Niņo dry spell is expected to affect cropping in the first semester of 2010. El Niņo refers to the usual warming of sea surface temperatures along the equatorial Pacific that is usually characterized by below-average rainfall, which leads to a dry spell.

Plevy Raco, Provincial Coconut Development Manager of PCA-Aklan said farmers could protect their coconut trees from the dry spell by mulching or covering the tree trunks with farm debris like rice straws, coconut fronds and other farm waste to preserve moisture.

"Coconuts are not easily affected by drought but if it is a long dry spell, its fruit-bearing ability will be affected eventually", Raco said.

Presently, PCA has also a program on intercropping. The crops, cacao and banana, are shade-loving and use little water, so PCA expects less effects of the dry spell on the crops.

The planting of cacao is one project of the Aklan River Development Project (ARDP) here in response to Climate Change, and ably supported by the Provincial Government of Aklan, the PCA and other concerned agencies.

The province targets to establish a 200 hectare cacao plantation in Ibajay and Makato.

"The PCA has many programs for the farmers. Avail of these programs so you will have additional income", Raco called on farmers. (PIA) [top]

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