PCA to spend P1.6B for complete fertilizer in Yolanda-hit areas

PALO, Leyte, (PNA) -– The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) will be spending P1.6 billion for procurement and distribution of complete fertilizer in the bid to immediately recover losses in the coconut industry badly damaged by super typhoon Yolanda.

“Of the P2.8-billion allocation for rehabilitation of coconut industry hit by Yolanda, P1.6 billion is intended for complete fertilizer,” said PCA Administrator Euclides G. Forbes in a media interview after his three-day visit to coconut farms flattened by the storm.

For slightly and moderately damaged trees, the PCA will distribute complete fertilizer to facilitate recovery. Under the normal cycle, it will take three years for damaged trees to regenerate. With the application of complete fertilizer, trees will produce nuts in morethan a year.

“Hopefully, all sectors will help us monitor the distribution because we don’t want another fertilizer scam. This intervention is badly needed for our quick turnaround strategy that would restore pre-disaster production level,” Forbes added.

Huge budget was also set aside for replanting, cash for work and other recovery activities.

Some 16.1 million trees planted in 161,419 hectares were either uprooted or sheared by the storm with no chance of recovery.

There are about 28 million partially damaged trees planted in 280,098 hectares. These trees are expected to bear fruit again only after three to five years. PCA estimated a damage cost of P17.6 billion.

Eastern Visayas, with an annual average yield of one billion nuts, reported 33.82 million affected trees, almost half of the previously 72.75 million thriving coconut trees.

Of those affected, 15.04 million were categorized as totally damaged; 9.06 million, severely damaged; 4.98 million, slightly damaged; and 4.84 million, moderately damaged. Damage was estimated at P16.6 billion for Region 8 alone.