The coconut plantations in the Eastern and Central Visayas that were ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda [Haiyan] would get no new plantings and will be replaced by new livelihood undertakings, according to Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.
In an investments forum held on Tuesday, Purisima said that the government is no longer keen on replanting coconut trees in the areas hit by Yolanda because earnings from coconut is no longer profitable.
“The government split the Yolanda-affected areas in 24 sectors and private companies bidded for the recovery of the sectors in the typhoon-hit areas . . . They can include these sector or areas in their own supply chain,” he said.
“We are finding other potential sectors other than coconut plantations because coconut is not profiting much. We have high hopes, but if we do it properly, we can build back better,” Purisima added.
Based on earlier estimates by the Philippine Coconut Authority, about 33 million coconut trees were damaged by the super typhoon in Eastern Visayas, and it would cost the agency from P15 billion to P75 billion to replace the fallen trees.
The Finance chief said that the government is working closely with the private sector in identifying other industries that can be developed in areas hit by the super typhoon.
Although many products can be produced from raw materials from the coconut tree, most small farmers only know how to produce copra, which is mostly bought by millers to produce coconut oil for the domestic and local market.