THE Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) has been releasing the P53.23-million incentives to coconut farmers in Eastern Visayas for planting banana after the 2013 Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
As of March, the PCA regional office has distributed P22.81 million checks to 6,821 coconut farmers who planted 912,650 suckers within the first two years after the typhoon. The PCA started the distribution in January.
“We have been going around provinces to inform coconut farmers that incentives for banana intercropping is now ready for release,” said PCA Regional Manager Joel Pilapil.
The official clarified that the incentive is intended for 15,646 coconut farmers who planted 2.12 million banana suckers from 2014 to 2015.
“It takes time to release the money since we have to abide to some auditing rules. Even if it comes late, we see the happy faces of farmers receiving checks,” Pilapil said.
The PCA prioritized the provision of cash to farmers who planted banana considering that it is very suitable to plant the crop under coconut trees, high demand in the market, and it is ready for harvest in less than a year.
“While waiting for the full recovery of coconut, we introduced banana intercropping for farmers to have alternative income. This is the first time that PCA provided cash reward to farmers engaged in intercropping,” Pilapil added.
Of the P53.23-million budget, P39.06 million was set aside for Leyte province, P1.41 million for Biliran, P250,000 for Southern Leyte, P5 million for Samar, and P7.5 million for Eastern Samar.
The PCA is targeting to finish the distribution of incentives within the first semester of the year.
About 33.90 million coconut trees in Eastern Visayas were destroyed by the monster storm in 2013.
Of the total, 13.90 million were categorized as destroyed, 9.04 million severely damaged, 5.69 million slightly damaged, and 5.28 million moderately damaged. (PNA)