DAGAMI, Leyte – Amid efforts of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) to help them, coconut farmers of this town are still reeling from the disastrous impact of supertyphoon Yolanda. Of the more than 900,000 coconut trees planted before Yolanda hit this town, there are now only 750,000 coconut trees which are in various stages of damage. And as part of their intervention, the PCA has so far replaced 20,000 coconut trees that were damaged due to Yolanda, Hermogenes Martinda, municipal coconut development officer, said.
The replanting of coconuts is part of the recovery program of the PCA aim to help the affected farmers regain their income back. The replanting is expected to be over in the next six months, Martinda said. About 20,948 coconut farmers of the town were affected due to Yolanda. In terms of debris clearing, 15 percent of farms have been cleared and they are still conducting the activity in other areas, he added. Billy Rocol, a farmer shared his experience. He said that it was hard for him and for his family to move forward since they only depend on their coconut production for living. He said that since they lost their coconut trees due to Yolanda, times have very difficult for his family reason why he has to find another source of income. Rocol now serves as a motorcycle driver whose daily income is not still sufficient to feed his family. (JELLY E. CARAAN, LNU Intern)