The National Coconut Productivity Program
The Philippine Coconut Authority(PCA) has successfully implemented the National Coconut Productivity Program (NCPP). The program consisted of Participatory Coconut Planting Project (PCPP), Salt Fertilization Project (SFP) and Plowable Intercropping Project (PIP) resolves to promote immediate and long-term coconut development to address the decline in coconut production, cope with the increasing and expanding market demand for coconuts here and abroad, and stave off hunger and reduce poverty in coconut farming communities.
Ensuring the program’s success is the vibrant synergy of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the PCA, the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF), local government units (LGUs) and various industry stakeholders, particularly -the coconut farmers. This convergencis in itself historic, concretely demonstrating the industry’s focal place in the development agenda of Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The NCPP marked the biggest mobilization of coconut farmers in the country.
5.69 Million seedlings transplanted so far
In 2008, PCA scored an unprecedented 8.22 M seednuts laid on the ground in the different nurseries operated by 26,545 farmer-participants of the Participatory Coconut Planting Project (PCPP) in barely four (4) months. From these seednuts, some 6.56 M good seedlings have been produced in 2009 and a total of 5.69 M seedlings were already transplanted in the field which is equivalent to 56,881.24 hectares from January to June 2009. It is expected that by end of December 2009, transplanted seedlings will reach more than 6 million. ‘
Under this project, the participating farmers stand to benefit a total of P30 incentive which is broken down as follows: Php7 for every good seednut laid on the ground; another Php7 for every good seeding produced and Phpi6 for every transplanted seedling and stabilized on the ground after six months from transplanting.
So far, some Php88M amount of farmers’ incentive have been paid by PCA and CIIF accounting for the P 14 per seednuts sown and seedlings produced in the nursery. The farmers are also scheduled to receive another Phpi6 incentive soon for every transplanted and stabilized seedlings on the ground.
A shift from the traditional system to participatory approach bolstered PCA’s chances of implementing a massive coconut planting and replanting program. Under this approach, farmers are not just mere recipients and beneficiaries of the project but rather an active partner in the development process. They are tapped to produce their own seednuts, sown and propagate them in the nursery and plant them in their own farms.
447,373 bags of salt for coconut
Simultaneously, the Salt Fertilization Project (SFP) was implemented in pursuit of immediately addressing the slump in coconut production. PCA has caused the procurement of some 447,373 bags of agricultural grade salt’ fertilizers for distribution to the coconut farmers in 2008 and 2009.
As of June 30, 2009, 92% or 410,951 bags of salt have already been distributed and received by a total of 93,1i2 farmers. Total number of bags applied accounts for 88% or 392,922 of the total number of bags procured by the PCA.
A total of 9.8 M coconut trees have been applied with salt at 2 kg. per tree. On the average, each of the farmers have received and applied 4 bags of salt per hectare at loo trees per hectare. They stand to benefit more for the next two years as fertilization shall be undertaken for three consecutive years. They are also expected to realize a yield increment of 25% after one year of application and up to 50% to 100% after second and third year of continuous fertilizer application.
The project is expected to boost the coconut productivity of some 11.18M coconut trees benefiting some 93,112 farmers across the country in the next two years.
The use of common salt or sodium chloride (NaCl) to fertilize coconut trees is proven beneficial as it cheaper and easy to apply. Salt not only increases the productivity of coconut but also improves its resistance to dry spell and pests and diseases.
To provide the coconut farmers with additional source of income, the PCA, in partnership with the Coconut Industry Investment Fund or CIIF and the Department of Agriculture (DA) has implemented the Coconut – Corn Intercropping in areas devastated by typhoons and other natural calamities under the Plowable Intercropping Project (PIP) of NCPP. Corn is one of the major staples in the country which could be planted in between available spaces under the coconut trees.
The project is boosts of more than 90,000 farmer-cooperators. From January – June 2009, some 26,705 hectares of coconut lands have been intercropped with OPV glutinous white corn. Intercropping in the remaining targeted areas shall be completed in the second cropping season usually in September to November 2009.
As the PCA’s strategic response to PGMA’s development agenda on hunger mitigation and food security and job generation, plowable intercropping is widely promoted in coconut farming communities also as an alternative, least-cost and indirect way of increasing coconut production.
IEC for productivity enhancement
The PCA considers comprehensive information, education and communication (IEC) advocacy as an indispensable part of the efforts to create awareness on the national coconut productivity program and catalyze broad participation from coconut farmers, industry stakeholders including other government agencies, local government units and lawmakers.
To underscore this important concern, PCA has developed and mass produced information materials in the form of poster and flyers which were disseminated through the following channels of communication:
Through assembly meetings, formal and informal farmers’ classes and briefings with the local government leaders conducted by our fieldmen that encouraged total, active and sustained involvement and participation of the farmers and other sectors within the locality. These activities were used as a venue to disseminate information about the program and distribute PCPP, SFP and PIP flyers. Posters of this kind were also posted in conspicuous places in schools, public markets and municipal halls.
PCA lobbied with Malacanang, the Senate of the Philippines and Halls of Congress including the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Department of Agriculture (DA), industry leaders and the private sector, particularly the CIIF for support. The effort was met with greater enthusiasm and outpouring expression of support from various sectors of the government and the private organization.
As a support strategy for social mobilization, PCA has utilized mass media i.e. TV, radio and print (national and local dailies) to reach a greater number of clientele. Several times during the period under review, that the PCPP, SFP and PIP graced the pages of the national newspapers among which the Manila Standard and Manila Bulletin. Likewise, the program was also featured in the regional and local dailies such as Panay News and Pangasinan News. Moreover, Administrator Oscar G. Garin was always invited for interviews at the national television and regional and national radio stations in addition to the press conference arranged by the Public Relations and Information Office (PRIO) for purposes of keeping well-informed key segments of society.
Retooling of PCA fieldmen
Operationalizing coconut productivity program requires the strengthening of the role of the PCA’s workforce particularly the Regional Managers (RMs), the Provincial Coconut Development Managers (PCDMs) and Coconut Development Officers (CDOs). This was realized in two occasions. First, during the PCDMs meeting cum program briefing held on January 2008 in Iloilo attended by some 75 RMs and PCDMs including key Officers and staff of the Central Office. Second, as an offshoot to the regional and provincial meeting, the CDOs were called for the first ever Convention held on February 2008 in Iloilo that saw the finalization of the Program plan implementation and issues and concerns raised by them are heard and discussed to the Administrator.
The Convention was a welcome development and relief to the more than 400 CDOs since this was the first time after so many years that they have met and discussed with the PCA Administrator and renewed acquaintances with one another. To some, it was a reunion of sort. The convention ended on a high note eliciting deep commitment from the CDOs to carry out the implementation of the project to the fullest.