The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) is encouraging coconut farmers to adopt intercropping technology. Presently, PCA is providing Pinakbet seeds with free complete fertilizer in order to fully utilize their land and increase their crop production.

The program started on January this year as part of the agency’s Yolanda Recovery and Rehabilitation Project. Coconut farmers in the region especially those from areas heavily affected by the Typhoon Yolanda can avail of free agricultural inputs such as seeds and fertilizers.

Based on government data, the coconut sector accounts as the top commodity greatly affected by the Super typhoon which slammed the region last year. According to crop experts, it is going to take at least 6-9 years before coconuts return to full productivity. Hence, to help coconut farmers earn income and go back to farming, the government, in collaboration with the international agencies, provided alternative livelihood solutions.

Farmers can avail of a pack of Pinakbet seeds composed of squash, ampalaya, eggplant and the like. Aside from the seed inputs, the beneficiary also receives a bag of fertilizer. After three months time, coconut farmers can already harvest their vegetable crops, thus helping them produce their own food and augment their income.

Aside from the provision of vegetable seeds and fertilizer, the PCA also implements the Coconut Timber and Disposal Utilization. It involves clearing operation and processing of coconut logs on areas directly hit by the super typhoon Yolanda. Hired chainsaw operators undertake clearing of farm lands with fallen coconut trees.

Meanwhile, beneficiaries of the cash-for-work program clear and prepare the land for planting. The PCA, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture (DA), promotes intercropping of corn and high value crops along coconut plantation.

Interested farmers and involved stakeholders can visit the PCA Regional Office in the Government Center, Palo, Leyte or they can inquire from the coconut conservation development officers based in the local government units.

This initiative was also showcased by PCA in their booth at RTR Plaza, Tacloban City during the Agri-Aqua and Garden Show that was conducted in line with the annual fiesta celebration of Tacloban City. (NIZA APRIL M. PORTEZA, Intern, FRANCISCO C. ROSAROSO, Chief, RAFID)