Philippines: 7 Million coconut trees needed to be planted to recover industry

18 Apr 2017

A TOTAL of 7 million coconut trees are needed to be planted every year nationwide within five years to make up for the around 36 million coconut trees lost during the typhoons and the cocolisap infestation, a Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) official said. 

“We lost so much during the last typhoons. We lost 33 million for the typhoons Pablo and Yolanda and we lost also about 2 to 3 million coconut trees due to cocolisap infestation and the cuttings that are not really regulated,” said PCA member of the board Roque Quimpan during the Kapehan sa Dabaw weekly press conference at SM City Davao on Monday, April 17. 

He added that if it was not for the development of the high-value by-products of coconuts, like the virgin coconut oil and the coconut water, the coconut industry would have been a dying industry. 

He said records for the previous years had shown growing demand for coconuts but the local governments weren’t able to provide according to PCA’s mandate, especially the delivery of the products due to limited raw materials availability. 

Quimpan added in 2014, the Philippines exported 10.2 million liters or around $11 million of coconut water alone. 

“For the previous months, we have started the moratorium on coconut cutting. There will be no cutting of coconut trees except for areas in Basilan and in the province of Quezon due to the cases of cocolisap infestation in these areas… There are different categories like slightly damaged, critically damaged. Those that cannot be rehabilitated anymore can be cut down. We bury some while the others are used as lumbers,” said Quimpan.

He added that around 500,000 and 144,000 coconut trees in Basilan and Zamboanga, respectively, need to be cut down. 

Cocolisap for Quezon province has already started to be addressed and rehabilitated. A total of P106 million-budget will be allocated for rehabilitation and replanting projects. 

The participants for coconut planting will secure seeds and they will be paid P40 for every seed they plant which would be assessed after two to three months to see if it had lived. For indigenous people’s (IPs) areas they will be given an additional of P20 per tree planted through the Project for the Indigenous Peoples. 

“We intend to plant around 1 million coconut trees in the areas of the IPs in Davao Region especially those belonging to the Ata Manobo tribe in Paquibato. This is the area where the palm tree planting projects were not pushed through because of resistance. But the residences there loved coconuts as we introduced it to them,” said Quimpan, adding there is no other better area for development except areas granted to the IPs by the government through the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title as other land areas had already been converted to banana, cacao, and other fruit-bearing tree plantations. 

He added that this was mentioned by President Rodrigo Duterte through his State of the Nations Address that the IPs alone can cultivate and develop their land for themselves. (JPA)

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