CHIZ: TAP P75-B COCO LEVY FUND TO AID FARMERS IN ODETTE-DAMAGED AREAS

CHIZ: TAP P75-B COCO LEVY FUND TO AID FARMERS IN ODETTE-DAMAGED AREAS

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero has expressed hope that the government will expedite the approval of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP) to free up P75 billion in levy funds which can be used to assist coconut farmers and rehabilitate their lands ravaged by Super Typhoon Odette.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) recently reported that Odette’s wrath caused almost P12 billion in damages to agriculture three weeks after it hit the country, of which P1.6 billion alone was sustained by the coconut industry. Funds provided by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), however, may not be enough to address the massive losses sustained by coconut farmers, considered the poorest among farmworkers.

In Eastern Visayas alone, damage to the region’s coconut industry was placed at over P614 million in production loss, according to PCA’s regional office, as Odette toppled or sheared over 10 million trees and wasted 57,367 metric tons of nuts ready for harvesting, thus affecting the livelihood of some 82,000 coconut farmers. (ai/mtvn)

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