GOVERNMENR CENTER, PALO, Leyte- The regional office of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) said that it has distributed more than 1.5 million coconut seedlings to over 5,000 farmers displaced during the onslaught of supertyphoon “Yolanda.” This was disclosed by Joel Pilapil, PCA regional director, who said that the coconut seedlings that their office distributed so far were part of their assistance to the farmers adversely affected by Yolanda.

“These replanting activities are being supported through the establishment of five nurseries containing 70,800 seed nuts,” Pilapil said. The PCA has reported that 33.90 million coconut trees in Eastern Visayas were affected by the storm last year. Of this number, 13.90 million were categorized as totally damaged; 9.04 million severely damaged; 5.69 million slightly damaged and 5.28 million moderately damaged. The regional loss to the industry was placed at P14.23 billion affecting more than 1.160 million coconut farmers.

Pilapil said that since they started their replanting activity, about 1.5 million seedlings were distributed so far benefitting 5,584 farmers. The replanting activity will run for five years aim to replace coconut trees that were either sheared or uprooted by last year’s super typhoon. New seedlings will replace 15.04 million trees totally damaged by the storm with a funding of P16 million.

“It will take one year for slightly and moderately damaged trees to regenerate. Severely damaged trees will not bear fruit for two to three years,” Pilapil said. Eastern Visayas is considered to be the country’s second top coconut producing region with 46.9 million bearing trees. About 72% were destroyed by the massive disaster that hit the region more than nine months ago. (SHERYMAE P. SESO, LNU Intern)