By Rey Anthony Chiu | 10:29 PM August 29, 2020
Believe it or not, there is no better time for Boholanos to get into the Philippine Coconut Authority’s replanting project of the tree of life, than now.
Why? Because of the threat of the coronavirus disease and with restrictions in movement, idle people have resorted to planting all kinds of plants imaginable, some going for the ornamentals that do not offer much or a future beyond sale of replants.
Two, because of the COVID response from the PCA, you germinate coconuts, the government pays you. You plant what you germinate, the government pays you again.
Three, because provinces across Central Visayas which source out their coconut seedlings from the PCA nursery in Calanggaman Ubay have not been able to draw their seedling allocations, this allows Bohol to store a million seedlings a year, one which good not be good storing in the PCA nursery.
And finally, because of these, you can get a good chance of getting free seedlings.
In fact, according to PCA Bohol manager Engr. Emiliano Romero, their office has the Coconut Planting and Replanting Program that allows people who germinate coconuts into seedlings and plant them, for an incentive from the government.
Speaking at the Kapihan sa PIA Thursday, Engr. Romero who is himself a strong believer of the wonder incomes and payback of coconuts and with a family farm that showcases the “miraculous tree of life,” said PCA pays a farmer P40 for every coconut seedling it is able to germinate and another P45 for every seedling the farmer transplant to a permanent place in a coconut farm.
A total of P85 per tree, he said.
Noting that not a lot of people are into planting coconut farming because of the length of time to get a coconut into fruiting, the debunked the myth with the hybrids and the dwarf varieties that can fruit after a span of three years.
“Little did people know that there are dwarf coconuts now that have matured after three years, coconuts whose tender fruits can by harvested without needing somebody to climb the tree, Romero, who has led Bohol’s replanting program said.
“Ubos ra kaayo, nga kon naa mi bisita sa farm, malipay mi nga makadalit mi dayun og botong, (It is so short one can harvest young coconuts without climbing. Now we are happy we can easily offer young coconuts to our farm guests) Engr Romero said.
And at P15-30 a fruit, it is still the same money you would get from other fruits, he illustrated.
Now, with healthy coconuts, it can produce one bunch of 7 fruits per month, sometimes a tree bearing 14-16 bunches a year.
No other fruit tree bears a much fruit monthly, than coconuts, he noted.
Moreover, the PCA’s Planting and Replanting program also offers farmer who have half a hectare of farms to plant, some 72 free seedlings.
With hybrid seedlings now sold at P225 and dwarf coconut seedlings at P85, this is a perfect chance for coconut farmers to get free seedlings for their farms, Romero who came on the second to the last day of the country’s observance of the Philippine Coconut Week disclosed.
And for farmers or those interested to plant but does not have bigger lots, they can group together and as long as their aggregate areas to plant reaches half a hectare, then the PCA can grant them the free 72 seedlings.
He added that the PCA can give more according to the area needing seedlings to plant.
How about those farmers who needed the money with cheap copra prices?
Engr Romero said the office has also incentivized banana plants when intercropped with coconuts.
For a half hectare of coconut plantation intercropped with bananas, we pay P25 per banana planted under coconut trees, according the PCA manager.
For the PCA, with copra prices not really helping much, the other option is to go to other uses of the coconut, which is now being looked at and assisted by the government.
Romero said copra is just a small part of the value of a coconut, noting that even the husk now is being used to produce coco peat, a kind of fertilizer additive that keeps water from draining or evaporating fast, coco coir which is not used to make geo-fibers used in soil stabilization and erosion control.
Bohol has already some 10 coconut decorticating machines, one that can strip the husk of the coir and the fiber.
One can also sell the young fruits at a high price. But he added, processed coconut can even command much more.
He talked about virgin coconut oil, vegetable cooking oil from coconut, and coconut sugar with technologies not being cascaded by the PCA to interested farmer groups. (rahchiu/PIA-7/Bohol)