The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Palawan is working on intercropping projects as an intervention and alternative livelihood for local farmers while waiting for coconut production which will take three to four years.
Senior agriculturist Engr. Arlo Solano said the project is now under processing in its regional office and will allocate 91 hectares (ha) for vegetables, and 63 has. for banana intercrop. The agency will plant fast-growing vegetables and crops like potatoes for the immediate harvest of farmers who lost their crops to typhoon Odette.
“Ang intercropping na naka-program namin ‘yong madalian – pinakbet vegetables, sama pa namin ‘yong potato, ‘yong madalian lang na mapapakinabangan nila agad. Meron din kami other crops (like) banana, at least makaalalay lang dahil ang coconut hybrid, minimum of three to four years ‘yan mag-start ng production. Wala pa tayong nasimulan na ipamahagi dahil kasalukuyan itong inaayos sa regional office. Nasa subject for bidding siya, kung sino ma-award’an nito before mag-start ng implementation,” Solano said.
He added that providing planting materials under the intercropping project will also help utilize the lands while waiting for the production time of coconut trees.
The PCA eyes to distribute their coconut seed nuts housed in three nursery sites by the month of May or June.
The seed nut must be grow to two feet tall before its distribution to farmers and be planted during the wet season as this is the weather that is suitable for the planting of coconut.
“Sa coconut intercropping, syempre wala nang bunga ang niyog nila kaya meron kaming intervention na gagawin diyan kaya magbibigay kami ng planting materials na pwede itanim sa ilalim ng niyugan sa mga naapektuhan,” Solano explained.
The agency will also give focus on the rehabilitation of coconut trees and the fertilization program where 140 hectares will benefit. After the effect of the typhoon, the PCA also observed an increase in coconut farmers registering themselves in National Coconut Farmers Registry System (NCFRS), a database used by PCA for coconut farmers’ registration and a system used to determine beneficiaries of different programs.
“Nagdagdag tayo, halos ‘di man biglaan pero dumadagdag. Isang factor (Odette’s effect) dahil syempre ang iba na-wipe out ang coconut trees, wala na sila iparehistro. Pero ang iba naman, bago nabagyo ay na-register na kaya mino-monitor na lang namin ‘yong kanilang existence doon sa area kasi hindi naman lahat na-wipe out,” he added.