From: Business Inquirer - 31/08/2008
THE PHILIPPINE COCONUT AUTHORITY has urged the private sector to invest in the P40-billion coconut industry to help the country recover the 300,000 metric tons in copra production lost in 2006.
At the recent National Coconut Productivity forum, PCA Deputy Administrator Carlos B. Carpio said the agency was implementing three programs to increase coconut output.
These are salt fertilization, participatory coconut planting and intercropping, Carpio said in his presentation.
Carpio explained that these projects were aimed at recovering production lost due to typhoons in 2006 and bring output back to the 2005 level of 2.6 million MT in copra terms.
This year, coconut production is seen to expand by 9 percent to 2.566 million tons in copra terms from last year’s 2.357 million MT.
Increased production from these programs were also seen to help the industry meet the mandatory 1-2 percent blend in biodiesel, which will need at least 200,000 MT in copra terms, he added.
Salt fertilization project refers to fertilizing each coconut tree with two kilos of salt every year to increase yield by as much as 25 percent in the first year and 50-100 percent after the second year.
In 2009, the government estimates it will need to shell out another P2.59 billion to fertilize 185,000 trees. By this year, the coconut sector can already expect an incremental yield of 270,000 tons worth some P6.75 billion.
By the end of 2014, Carpio said the sector can expect some 1.48 million tons in incremental yield worth some P37 billion, from a total projected investment of P7.7 billion in the salt fertilization project.
Meanwhile, the participatory coconut planting project encourages coconut farmers to sell good seed nuts and seedlings to the PCA, and at the same time, allow them to earn as much as P30 for every planted coconut tree.
The PCA is also implementing the intercropping project, which encourages farmers to plant cash crops such as corn, peanut, mung bean, banana and malunggay in between the coconut trees.