THE Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) underscored that innovating sustainable and climate-resilient means of coconut production is a top priority to help coconut farmers achieve better and increased yields.

PCA deputy administrator Roel Rosales said Thursday, December 1, during the Davao Region Coconut Conference and Trade Summit, that they are close to perfecting the process of growing coconut through tissue culture that will significantly help farmers.

“The tissue culture is similar to what we do in bananas where one tissue can produce so many planting materials. In that way, you’ll be able to get the exact genetic characteristic of the source with the proper selection,” he said.

The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications defined plant tissue culture (TC) as the cultivation of plant cells, tissues, or organs on specially formulated nutrient media. Under the right conditions, an entire plant can be regenerated from a single cell.

Rosales added that their research with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has yielded at least 200 tissues. To strengthen his claim, Rosales also mentioned that research in Mexico has proven that tissue can produce thousands of planting materials.

“With one tissue from the nut itself, it can produce several hundreds,” he said, adding that they are now in the final stage of the research.

“We have actually tested trees already planted on the field that are products of the said technology. We are hopeful that in the next few years, these will be commercialized and made available,” Rosales said.

On climate change, Rosales said PCA and other concerned agencies have shifted to more practical and sustainable means of farming to mitigate its impacts.

‘In terms of carbon sequestration, coconut trees are proven to be helpful in that area. In terms of intervention, we are shifting to more practical and more sustainable means of farming. We have less dependence on inorganic fertilizer, especially in calamity-affected areas,” he emphasized.

Rosales also said that the coconut industry is now shifting to organic as it is also what the market requires and demands.

“We went back to using salt. We are also pushing the agenda where farmers are encouraged to process their farm refuse,” he said.

Rosales said zero waste management in farming will be pushed with the help of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management.

In 2010, the country started to recognize the importance of organic farming through Republic Act (R.A.) 10068 or the Promotion and Development of Organic Agriculture in the Philippines.

To further develop organic farming and promote community-based organic agriculture systems, former President Rodrigo Duterte signed R.A. 11511 as an amendment of R.A. 10068. JDC