THE Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) is gearing up to plant 8.5 million coconut seedlings this year as the government moves to refresh the country’s coconut plantations.
In a statement, PCA Administrator Bernie F. Cruz said that the number of seedlings represents the full extent of its nursery capacity.
“We made use of remaining funds from previous years to partner with supportive LGUs and cooperatives to establish nurseries and expand our sources of planting materials, in compliance with (President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s) directives,” Mr. Cruz added.
“We are also maximizing our resources and stepping up our efforts in our regular planting programs,” he added.
He said that the PCA is expecting further expansion of its tree planting program in the coming years due to a significant rise in parent trees being used to produce seedlings.
Last year, Mr. Marcos ordered the PCA to draft a plan for the rehabilitation of the coconut industry, including the planting of 100 million coconut trees by 2028. The rehabilitation plan aims to address the advancing age of the bearing trees.
“While the planting goal is for 2028, he told us to abide by a plan that looks ahead in terms of fully rehabilitating the coconut industry, and to ensure that every peso invested is well-spent,” Mr. Cruz said.
In 2023, the PCA planted more than 2.1 million seedlings.
A medium-term replanting plan assumes that the PCA will plant 20 to 25 million seedlings annually between 2023 and 2028.
In order to meet the planting targets, the PCA established the Task Force for Massive Coconut Planting and Replanting and Productivity Enhancement.
The group was primarily charged with forging partnerships with LGUs, coconut farmers’ organizations, and cooperatives, as well as the private sector. — Adrian H. Halili