By: Marianne D. Maranan, Agriculturist II, Quezon II
Seven years after Mercedes Bo, a 65-year-old widow from Plaridel, Quezon, was encouraged to plant coconut during the birth of the Participatory Coconut Planting Project (PCPP), she is now harvesting the fruits of her labor.
PCPP, a component of the Accelerated Coconut Planting/ Replanting Program (ACPRP), is a participatory and incentive-based approach of encouraging planting and replanting of coconut trees. Under this scheme, participating farmers are tapped to propagate their own good quality planting materials.
Despite the long waiting period before local tall coconut varieties bear fruits, farmers like Mercedes never let time prevent her from pursuing what she describes as a very relaxing job in addition to its benefits to the environment.
From the first harvest of her 100 bearing trees, she put up a small sari-sari store with fervent hope that her earnings, when properly invested will multiply someday. She is also very positive that the demand for coconuts will always be there and that prices will soon normalize. With that perspective, she has been encouraging her neighbors to join and participate in PCA programs and projects as a way of supporting the coconut industry.
Positive feedbacks were also observed from other farmers in the town of Plaridel. Filomena Verdan, Vice President of PIDTIC Coconut Farmers Organization said: “One of the most memorable things that my late husband left me is our coconut farm. I can still recall when we received incentives from PCA seven years ago. Those seedlings we planted are now bearing fruits. I am just so happy that I am now harvesting the fruits of our labor. This kind of project of PCA really motivates the farmers to plant more trees.”
Further, Dante Alcaide, member of the same organization said: “Being a father of five children, I needed to earn money for our everyday living. Thank you PCA for having a project like PCPP which I was able to join several years ago. This incentive-based scheme is really efficient and the coconut trees I planted are now regular source of additional income for my family. I save my income from coconuts for my kids’ school allowance.”As a writer said, the grass is always greener underneath a coconut tree. But you can only reap the highest gains if you nurture what you sow to the best you can. By planting coconut trees, you are giving gifts not only to yourself but to the future generations.