A P5-million coconut-based agro industrial hub will soon rise in Bohol province as part of the government’s effort to create jobs, encourage business, and develop livelihood among marginalized coconut farmers, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) over the weekend said.
In a statement, outgoing PCA Administrator Euclides Forbes said that the provincial government of Bohol has started the construction of the country’s first coco-based agro-industrial complex which could also serve as a tourism destination in the province.
Forbes signed last year a memorandum of agreement with Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto committing to support the province and the municipality of Balilihan in their effort to establish a coconut-based agro-industrial hub.
Chatto said that the industrial hub would help farmers address their development needs by providing them with technical assistance and training, facilities, and market information. The farmers can then undertake product development and put up village-level enterprises to produce higher-value products, improve product quality, and establish connections with viable markets.
Bohol Island has around 10 million coconut trees producing an annual harvest of more than 343 million coconuts.
“However, coconut farmers in the province, for lack of capital and facilities, cannot adopt different marketing and value-adding activities to improve their income, rendering their traditional products non-competitive which resulted in limited incentives for farm productivity,” Chatto said.
Besides providing funds for the required equipment of the coconut hub, PCA will provide technical experts to design and monitor the processing center.
The PCA will also assist Bohol in the rehabilitation and replanting of coconuts as well as in the diversification and sustainable development of products other than coconuts.
The facility is designed for a 5,000-kilogram processing capacity and will take four to 14 months to complete.
Meanwhile, in Bicol region, PCA Regional Manager Mateo Zipagan has drawn up a plan to prevent the spread of coconut scale insects (CSI) after consulting with various stakeholders.
According to Zipagan, the area from the eastern coastal tip of Sta. Elena (Camarines Norte) to the western coastal point in Tagkawayan, Quezon will be quarantined and monitored.
“The PCA and the Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council have initiated the campaign against scale insect since January this year by disseminating information to stakeholders and by formulating plans with local chief executives in the region,” said Zipagan.
Their work plan this year includes organizing Task Force CSI-Bicol, training and deputizing personnel for land border quarantine, training PCA and local government personnel and farmer-leaders on CSI biology and control, and regular surveillance and immediate eradication of CSI infestations.