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Monday, 12 February 2024

Dinagat Islands gets P20M grant for coconut tree planting project

By Renelle Escuadro

Governor Nilo P. Demerey Jr. of the Province of Dinagat Islands received a check from Philippine Coconut Authority Administrator Bernie F. Cruz at the PCA Central Office that will enable the province to join the country in planting 1 million coconut trees. Photo courtesy of Gov. Nilo P. Demerey Jr.

BUTUAN CITY --- The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA)  has turned over a check amounting to P20 million to the provincial government of Dinagat Islands to fund its participation in a nationwide program to plant a million coconut trees.

The project primarily aims to reinvigorate the coconut industry by planting 100 million trees from 2023 to 2028, in which PCA targets to plant 20 to 25 million trees yearly within five years in areas mostly in Mindanao, which includes the Province of Dinagat Islands.

Under a Memorandum of Agreement between the PCA and the provincial government of Dinagat Islands, the programs will be implemented which includes seed farm development, coconut fertilization, among other activities.

Dinagat Islands Gov. Nilo Demerey Jr. thanked the PCA for approving his request to consider the province as one of the beneficiaries of the project, stating, “this served as a beacon of hope especially to our coconut farmers who were greatly affected by Super Typhoon Odette in 2021. It destroyed more than 8,000 hectares of coconut plantations in the province, which affected around 5,000 of our coconut farmers.”

“With this funding, the provincial government intends to initiate a large-scale coconut planting and replanting program that will restore our local coconut industry, create employment opportunities, and improve the overall livelihood of our coconut farmers,” the governor said.

“We assure you that all allocated funds will be used judiciously and according to the guidelines and regulations set by PCA. The provincial government of Dinagat Islands is fully committed to reviving this vital sector, as this plays a crucial role in the province’s socio-economic growth and well-being, and this will also contribute to the overall success of the national coconut industry rehabilitation efforts,” Demerey added.

The country has been consistent as the top coconut exporter in the world. Coconut exports contributed an average of 35 percent to the country’s total agricultural export earnings from 2013 to 2022.

However, in 2022,  the Philippines landed third only in coconut production, next to Indonesia and India, due to the recorded 6.2 million decline of coconut-bearing trees as challenges confronted the sector such as increasing tree senility, bearing tree losses due to pests and diseases, natural disasters, and climate change impact.

To regain the country’s dominance as a coconut producer in the international market, the PCA launched the coconut planting and replanting program to address the impact of senilities and typhoon destruction on the sector, noting that the last time that the Philippines implemented massive coconut planting was in the ‘70s or ‘80s.  (RLE/PIA-Dinagat Islands)