2023 August 11
Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director General Jose Torres Jr. (left) and Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Deputy Administrator Roel Rosales (right)
MANILA – The 100 million seedlings project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) is set to start this month.
“The program is being promoted, and the guidelines are being drafted. I think as early as August it will start. We are in talks with farmers who will be the source of the seedlings,” PCA chairperson and deputy administrator Roel Rosales said in a press briefing at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) main office in Quezon City.
He said the areas to be covered by the planting and replanting projects are in Mindanao and the northern part of the country.
“(In) Mindanao, certainly where we need to plant some more, there are a lot of areas there that can be utilized for coconut planting. We are also working with the Indigenous People’s group because they have a lot of open areas,” he said.
“We only work on open areas. We are particular that we don’t cut forestries to give way to coconut trees nor we do allow young coconut treats to be cut in favor of a certain variety, we don’t allow that,” Rosales added.
Likewise, he said they are looking at specific areas in the north.
“There’s a lot of interest among farmers and local government units (LGUs) to populate northern provinces with more coconut,” the PCA official added.
He said the initial funding for the project is PHP100 million.
Rosales also reported that fertilizing coconuts should also be a priority aside from massive planting and replanting.
He noted that other Asian countries are catching up with the Philippines as far as the production of coconut oil is concerned.
“Indonesia has overcome the Philippines several years ago and India is now second, so that makes us third, as third-biggest producer in the world, thus that somehow threatens the position of the Philippines in the international market,” the PCA official said.
“We still top in terms of export of coconut oil but Indonesia is fast catching up, so we need to plant more, more than planting also we need to fertilize our coconut so that productivity on a per hectare basis can be increased in a quick turnaround way with planting first. The administrator (Bernie Cruz) has just launched the massive coconut planting program with a 100 million target,” he added.
Meanwhile, the PCA announced that a week-long activity to celebrate the 37th National Coconut Week will be held next week.
It said that the celebration shall include a series of activities that will give tribute, importance and thanksgiving to the coconut industry and its stakeholders.
It noted that this year’s celebration will imbibe a colorful festive mood — Coco Foodfest.
Compared to previous celebrations, the 37th anniversary event will be unique as it will highlight the food flavors particularly, comfort food merienda, which has been a constant part of the everyday life of Filipinos.
It added that the event will be a fiesta of familiar, economical, practical and easy-to-prepare food with coconut ingredients for the visitors and participants to sample and enjoy.
Likewise, the occasion will be a venue to establish a continuing awareness of the lasting importance of the industry to the country’s national life.
The 37th National Coconut Week festivities will be celebrated from Aug. 21 to 30 at the PCA main office in Quezon City.
Ferdinand Patinio (PNA)