By Restituto A. Cayubit
Tacloban City – The Leyte governor is encouraging coconut farmers in the province to adopt intercropping in their coconut plantations to add to their income.
Governor Leopoldo Petilla said the coconut farmers should not only depend on coconut growing alone.
Successful coconut farmers earn a bigger income from their farms by intercropping high-value crops like corn, cacao or vegetables such as lettuce, pepper and cabbage, Petilla said.
The farmers could also raise chickens, carabaos, goats and other farm animals, he added.
Petilla said that poverty in coconut-growing areas will be reduced if coconut farmers earn more through intercropping and livestock or poultry raising.
He said Super Typhoon “Yolanda” taught coconut farmers not only in Leyte but in other parts of Eastern Visayas that they should not depend only on one crop.
The Philippine Coconut Authority regional office in Palo, Leyte, estimates that a coconut farmer in Eastern Visayas earns an average of P50 per day from a one-hectare coconut farm by producing copra.
Because copra making takes three months the coconut growers are one of the poorest farm sectors in Eastern Visayas.
About a million coconut farmers in the region suffered huge losses when more than 33 million trees worth P16 billion were destroyed by Yolanda in 2013.