DA seeks P4B for coco sector dev’t plan
Some 227,625 hectares of coconut area eyed for intercroppingBy Ronnel W. Domingo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The government needs P4.09 billion for the next three years to push a coconut-based enterprise development program aimed at maximizing the productivity of coconut plantations through intercropping.
According to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), 227,625 hectares coconut farms will also be planted to corn, vegetables, banana, cacao, coffee and pineapple from 2014 to 2016.
This is part of a P17.9-billion, 14-year initiative (2012-2025) to maximize one million hectares of land planted to coconut.
That area represents about one-third of the agricultural land planted to coconut, which is currently about 3.56 million hectares or 26 percent of total agricultural land.
Data from the PCA show that the program is also meant to generate one million jobs—or one job per hectare—over the 14-year period.
In 2014 alone, the program needs P1.34 billion to intercrop a total of 73,000 hectares with various crops. This is expected to help generate 73,000 jobs.
The plan for next year pencils in 7,500 hectares for corn; 3,500 for vegetables; 25,000 for bananas; 14,500 for cacao; 18,500 for coffee and 4,500 for pineapple.
The goal is that by 2025, a total of 97,000 hectares of coco land will also grow corn; 40,000 with vegetables; 354,000 with bananas; 207,000 with cacao; 234,250 with coffee; and 67,750 with pineapple.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala had said that this program was meant to help rejuvenate not only the coconut industry but also to aid in efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in the production of other agricultural products.
For coffee alone, the Department of Agriculture has partnered with stakeholders of the local coffee industry in rolling out a national roadmap to develop and rejuvenate the market.
Alcala said earlier this month that the main thrust under the coffee roadmap was to expand areas planted to coffee through intercropping in coconut farms.
“Coffee grows best under and in between coconut trees,” Alcala said. “Another main thrust under the roadmap is to educate farmers on how to care for existing coffee shrubs.”
Alcala added that the DA was seeking ways to sustain the increasing domestic demand for coffee and, through the roadmap, to make the Philippines a net exporter.
“We have the capability to produce yet we are importing a lot,” he said. “Import substitution and exportation is the way to go.”