Lobregat urges farmers to plant more coco trees PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 25 February 2012 15:01

Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday called on the farmers in the city to plant more coconut trees, saying that people nowadays have already realized the importance of coconuts for food security and improved family income.

Lobregat issued the statement during the ceremonial distribution of checks to coconut farmers by the Philippine Coconut Authority Zamboanga City Provincial Office yesterday morning at its office in Pettit Barracks this city.

Farmers from the different barangays who planted 100 coconut seedlings in one hectare land received a cash incentive of P16/seedling or P1,600 each farmer under the PCA’s Participatory Planting Program to encourage more farmers to plant trees.

Lobregat recalled that when her mother, the late Mayor Maria Clara Lobregat, was the president of the Coconut Federation (COCOFED), she would always tell farmers not to cut coconut trees, but still there were many who had their coco trees cut due to the market demand.

“We thank the PCA for initiating this program and we hope you continue to plant coconut trees and that there will be more who will also plant coco trees,” Lobregat said.

“Antes, largo ya era el maga coco ya curta, na ara siembra pa lang y kwanto año pa espera antes fruta. At least people now are realizing the importance of coco trees,” he added.

A PCA study showed that as of 1996, it was reported that 2.5 million trees, about half of which were believed to be productive, had been cut due to: a) the log ban which made traditional forest lumber very scarce and raised demand for coco lumber; b) low price of coconut; and c) the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program where some landlords, in an effort to evade reform, cut their coconut trees.

To regulate the cutting of regular coconut trees, RA8048 was enacted in 1995.

Present during the program were PCA personnel headed by Regional Manager Antonio Bal Faustino and Provincial Coconut Development Manager Romeo Enriquez, who both thanked the mayor for sharing his time with them. — Vic Larato