LEGAZPI CITY: The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) has disbursed a total amount of Php5.2 million for the cash incentives of 2,371 coconut farmers in the Bicol Region under the Accelerated Coconut Planting and Replanting Project (ACPRP).
In 2014, according to Ed Bailon, PCA information officer, there were 3,239 farmer participants enrolled in the ACPRP, with a total allocation of Php7.7 million intended for the Bicol Region.
The provision of cash rewards to coco farmers is based on the condition that the participant must have the land for planting, verified, inspected and documented by PCA agriculturist.
The land must be assessed according to agronomic sustainability factors using the standard Farmer’s Interest and Farm Sustainability Survey Form.
The guidelines also provide that the land must be free from liens or encumbrances, otherwise, the owner must submit a written consent from the bank to allow the use of the land or portion thereof for participation in this project.
Bailon said farmers are committed to provide counterpart in the form of labor and other supplies and materials and undergo the required crash training.
Currently, there are 3,234 target farmer-participants under the ACPRP distributed in 93 municipalities regionwide with an equivalent hectares of 5,780.
The cash reward or incentive is given to qualified farmer participants in two options: first, when the farmers have produced their own seed nuts then placed in the nursery until the seedlings grow to at least one foot tall; and the second is when the farmers have transplanted and stabilized the seedlings on the round for about three to four months.
The amount of incentive that the farmer shall get is Php40.00 per seedling although the number of good seedlings prescribed under Phase One was reduced from 110 to 100. The 10-percent allowance for replacement shall still be imposed as part of the farmer’s counterpart in developing industry.
According to Bailon, no farmer-participants shall be paid the cash incentive or reward unless he or she raises the required additional 10-percent allowance.
“This year the remaining amount to be paid is Php2.5 million or 25 percent of the actual Php7.7million allocation for the cash reward,” Bailon said.
In the Bicol Region, Camarines has the biggest number of coco farmer-participants (711) under the program; followed by Masbate, with a total of 474.
Apart from the planting/replanting program, PCA is also determined to continue with its coconut fertilization program that aims to immediately increase coconut production by applying fertilizer in nutrient-deficient coconut areas using agricultural grade salt (NaCl) sourced locally.