Image from Romar Miranda | File photo

The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in Palawan is extending assistance to local coconut farmers to practice intercropping and livestock integration programs, as part of the government’s relief efforts.

Acting division chief Raul Aguilar said that the local attached corporation of Department of Agriculture (DA) has distributed cacao and coffee seedlings to Palaweño coconut farmers.

“Actually may mga dini-distribute kami na coffee seedlings, cacao seedlings para sa intercropping project namin, meron din kaming livestock integration dahil mababa ang price ng kopra, yon ang naisip natin na paraan para makatulong tayo,” he said.

PCA Palawan is serving around 4,000 coconut farmers in the mainland area of the province and Aguilar admitted that due to lack of personnel, PCA faces difficulty in reaching island towns.

He added that due to limited budget of PCA, he knows that the intervention provided by their office is still insufficient to address the needs of local coconut farmers.

“Karamihan ng government agency, ibang pondo natin ay pinapabalik di ba? Dahil gagamitin sa COVID, kulang na kulang sa ating coconut farmers yong mga tulong na binibigay natin,” he said.

According to Aguilar, the ruling price of copra traders in the Philippines also depends with the pricing of world market.

“May tinatawag kasi kami na straight price, straight lang, hindi siya kinukunan ng moisture content, nasa average siya ng P18 to P20 per kilo sa ngayon,” he said.

“Kapag ang moisture content ng copra mo ay 10 below, iba rin price nyan, mas mataas. Baka abutin pa yan ng P30 to P32 per kilogram,” he added.

Aguilar said that if the price of copra per kilo will not go below P20, local coconut farmers may earn even small income from the trade.

“Kung hindi na siya bababa sa P20, okay na siya sa ating farmers, ‘yong price na ‘yan. At least kumita na sila kahit kaunti lang,” he said.

Meanwhile, PCA Palawan said it had released check incentives to coconut farmers who joined the Participatory Coconut Planting Project (PCPP) 2019 Phase II.

Some P928,488 amount of incentive was already given to 263 farmers in towns of Aborlan, Narra, Sofronio Española, Quezon, and Rizal.

Aguilar said that more than P3 million cash incentive is allocated for distribution in province-wide coconut farmers under the PCPP.