The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) is now gearing up for a massive rehabilitation program in coconut production areas affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda.
PCA Administrator Euclides Forbes said in a statement that the agency is now fast-tracking the rehabilitation program, which includes increasing coconut timber disposal and utilization (CTDU), coconut planting and replanting with cash for work incentives, fertilization, and intercropping and livestock dispersal.
Under the CTDU, the PCA has already purchased 940 units of chainsaw and five sawmills, which are continuously being deployed to process coco lumber out of fallen trees. For the planting and replanting component, the agency has purchased more than 2.43 million coconut seedlings, which are being delivered to replace uprooted and damaged coconut trees.
“Every hectare is planted with 192 coconut seedlings in coastal and inland upland areas, for which a farmer is to be paid P3,000 as part of the cash for work program,” Forbes said.
For inland flat areas, coconut farmers will also be paid P3,000 for every 100 coconut seedlings that they plant per hectare, he said.
To prevent a repetition of the devastation to coconut plantations, the PCA is now introducing a new planting scheme, under which three seedlings are to be planted in a triangular pattern, two meters apart from each other and 10 meters between clusters. This alternative planting scheme is recommended by industry experts and has been tested in Aurora, he said.
Under the coconut fertilization component, 95,000 bags of 10 kilograms each and 87,630 bags of 50 kilograms each of fertilizers have already been purchased. Application of fertilizers aims to facilitate the recovery of slightly- and moderately-damaged coconut trees, which normally take about two to three years to regenerate.
As to the intercropping and livestock component, 120,000 packs of vegetable seeds and 100 metric tons of mung bean seeds have been purchased and are continuously being distributed to coconut farmers to augment their income, enhance food supply and mitigate hunger.
Five tractors, each with 90 horsepower implements, including a disc plow, trailing harrow, rotavator and a 5-ton trailer, have also been purchased to help in intercropping.