Cebu’s coconut industry incurs loss of P22.8 million due to typhoon Yolanda

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Friday, May 16, 2014


THE Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) expects the coconut industry in Cebu Province to incur this year P294 million in losses as a result of typhoon Yolanda.

Dennis Andres, officer-in-charge of PCA 7, said the coconut industry in the province already lost P22.8 million after Yolanda made landfall in northern Cebu on Nov. 8, 2013.

The Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC), on the other hand, will extend free insurance coverage for one year to marginal farmers and fisherfolk in northern Cebu who were affected by Yolanda.

The Cebu Provincial Government will subsidize the insurance premiums of farmers and fisherfolk in other parts of the province.

During a press conference organized by the Philippine Information Agency 7 yesterday, Andres reported that a total of 1,411,698 coconut trees were destroyed by the super typhoon. The figure make up 26 percent of the total number of coconut trees in Cebu Province, he said.

Farmers

He said a total of 46,921 coconut farmers were affected.

There are 163,527 coconut farmers and farm workers in Cebu Province.

According to PCA, the total damaged of coconut trees is 26 percent of the population of the coconut trees in the Province.

More than 50,200 of the coconut trees that were damaged were in Daanbantayan.

In Eastern Samar, Andres said, 33 million coconut trees were damaged or destroyed by Yolanda.

The typhoon also affects export income as the Philippines is considered a top exporter
of coconut products in Asia.

Andres said the PCA expects coconut exports to drop 20 percent.

The National Government released P49.37 million to the PCA for post-Yolanda recovery efforts in the coconut industry.

The PCA implements four post-Yolanda recovery programs called: debris management, inter-cropping, fertilization and replanting. It hopes to rehabilitate 12,519.66 hectares of coconut plantation in northern Cebu.

Debris management includes deployment of chainsaws and safety gear for clearing fallen coconut trees that can be used to provide lumber in rebuilding houses.

In the PCA's report, around 16,000 coconut trees were cut. This is just 10 percent of the total number of fallen coconut trees that will be used for lumber.

Chainsaw

Andres said the implementation of the program in Cebu is hampered by the lack of chainsaw operators who can do the cutting.

To address the problem, PCA trained farmers how to operate chainsaws. There are 179 farmers who can now operate a chainsaw.

Under the same program, PCA provided cash-for-work assistance to farmers who can cut fallen coconut trees. Each farmer received P400 a day while their assistants got P300.

Under the inter-cropping program, farmers were provided seeds and seedlings of vegetables and other crops that can be planted at coconut plantations.

PCA also distributed fertilizers in Camotes and Bantayan Islands.

Aid

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 received P115.387 million from the National Government.

The funds will be used to help farmers in 16 local government units in Cebu who were affected by typhoon Yolanda, said DA 7 assistant regional director for operations Marina Hermoso.

She said about 60 or 70 percent of Yolanda survivors were farmers.

Cresencio Deligero, PCIC 7 manager, said his office allocated P8 million to subsidize the insurance premiums of affected farmers and fisherfolk.

He said the insurance coverage will also help farmers and fisherfolk cope with the effects of the El Niño, which causes a drought in the Philippines.

Insurance

Those who will benefit from the free insurance coverage are farmers who till seven hectares of land or less and fisherfolk with less than three small outrigger boats.

Those who own fishponds or seaweed farms of not more than 500 square meters can also avail themselves of the free insurance coverage.

Small-scale poultry farm owners with 1,000 heads of layers or 5,000 heads of broilers
and less will also qualify.

Deligero said farmers and fisherfolk must register with the city or municipal agriculture office.

Insurance premium subsidy for farmers and fishermen in other parts of the province will be given by the Capitol through the Agri-fisheries Insurance Program.

The Capitol will shoulder 90 percent of the premium and the balance will be taken care of by the local government unit concerned.

Used

Of P8 million allotted by the Capitol for the program, only P391,232 was used as of April 30 based on PCIC records.

A total of P3.339 million in indemnity was also paid to 752 beneficiaries as of April, according to PCIC.

Jhomer Eclarino weather specialist of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said rainfall levels this month will be normal but it will decrease in June.

He said there will still be typhoons during El Niño but they will be fewer than on a normal year.

Rainfall in September and October are expected to be normal, Eclarino said.

Provincial Agriculture Office Chief Roldan Sarajena said farmers can still plant and harvest three-month crops.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 16, 2014.

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