How to encourage coconut replanting
This is a reaction to the news item, titled “Millions of coconut trees old and dying” (Inquirer, 9/5/11) by Kristine L. Alave.
Indeed, not only are millions of coconut trees “old and dying” but they are being blown down by strong typhoons and hit by lightning. Hence, they have to be sawn and turned into coco lumber, as the Philippine Coconut Authority has pointed out.
In order to encourage coconut farmers to replant, I suggest that the measly subsidy of P30 per seedling be increased to at least P100. Moreover, I propose that for the clearing of the land of weeds, a subsidy of at least P5,000 per hectare be set aside every year for up to five years, after which time the trees will already start bearing nuts.
Finally, I would suggest that the PCA and the Department of Social Welfare and Development sign a memorandum of agreement to include small coconut farmers in the department’s conditional cash transfer program.
—CRISOSTOMO B. VILAR,
Pagsanjan, Laguna; chair, Cocofed, Pagsanjan Chapter