By Philippine News Agency
The Philippine Coconut Authority’s (PCA) office in Western Visayas aims to plant more than 350,000 coconut seedlings in 3,500 hectares in the region under its participatory coconut-planting project (PCPP).
PCA-Western Visayas officer-in-charge, regional director Francis Fegarido, said Friday the demand for coconut is high both in the country and abroad, hence they hope that the region would be able to boost its production.
Fegarido said the seedlings will be distributed for free in potential areas in the region, including Negros Occidental province.
He disclosed that last year, each coconut tree in the region produced an average of 44 to 47 nuts, resulting in a total production of about 450 million coconuts.
To complement the seedling distribution, PCA will also distribute 10,320 bags of salt under its salt fertilization project (SFP), enough for 258,000 hectares of coconut plantations, Fegarido said.
To date, the region has 167,000 hectares of coconut plantations, including fruit-bearing, non-bearing and senile coconut trees.
With the increase in production, he said they also plan to assist micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) who are into oil and fiber production by establishing more “coco hubs”.
Fegarido said that PHP27 million has been allotted for upgrading equipment and expanding the operations of MSMEs in the region, through the Kaanib Coco Agro-industrial Hub (KCAHP). This initiative could help address the lack of infrastructure, inadequacy of capital, lack of entrepreneurial environment and the absence of proper policy framework.
Meanwhile, Fegarido said coconut plantations damaged by super typhoon Yolanda in Western Visayas have been fully replanted with trees that are expected to bear fruit in three to five years.
’Yolanda’ destroyed some 2 million coconut trees in 2013.
The PCA is strengthening the monitoring of coconut plantations amid the ongoing three-month ban on the cutting of coconut trees that began January 3. Provincial officers have been directed to watch out for violators.