SENATE Committee on Agriculture and Food chairperson senator Cynthia Villar said she is trying to pass a coconut farmer’s industry development bill which will allocate an annual P1 billion budget for intercropping.
Villar underscored the growing potential of increasing the coconut farmer’s income and produce through intercropping cacao in their plantations. She cited her visit in Indonesia and saw cacao plants intercropped with coconut plantations.
“Chocolate really intercrops with coconut. That’s why we are trying to pass this bill. And if we finish the bicam it will be forwarded to the president. But under that bill, there is a P1 billion budget for intercropping and another P1 billion budget for training. So it’s a combination of training and combination of seedlings,” Villar said on Thursday, October 18, 2018 during the opening of the Philippine Chocolate Festival at Davao Convention Center, Davao City.
Villar added along with the development of the coconut industry through the proposed bill being passed, the cacao and coffee industry will also take its gain in the process.
“When we talk of coconut farmers we talk of cacao and coffee because these are the best intercropping crops for coconut,” Villar said.
The senator also said the intercropping efforts can also help the country’s 3.5 million coconut farmers who earn only P50 a day.
“I have been pushing for cacao as strategic crops for intercropping with coconuts. We really have the competitive edge in cacao, so we just have to work on enhancing or strengthening that,” Villar said, adding that different government agencies like the Philippine Coconut Authority and the Department of Agriculture should continue in researching new developments in increasing yield of both cacao and coconut.