Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Entrepreneurial Farmerby Ambrosio R. Villorente

Aklan Agricultural Technicians Wake-Up

What are the significant accomplishments the Agriculture Technologists of Aklan claim? It appears nothing. In the 2015 Gawad Saka Search, 11 framers, fisherfolks and associations qualified out of the 23 categories. Those Gawad Saka Awardees are honored in the award ceremony held on August 25, 2015 at Diversion 21 Hotel, Iloilo City.

But quite disgusting. Nobody from Aklan placed among the awardees. This, inspite of the presence of the premiere College of Agriculture at Aklan State University, College of Fisheries, and College of Veterinary Medicine.  Moreover, the agricultural extension and training arm of the Department of Agriculture is situated in Banga, Aklan. What have they done? Did they just fold their arms and sit down? If they have been snoring, it is time for the Regional Training Center, ATI and serve our  farmers and fisherfolks.

Six of the 2015 Gawad Saka awardees are from Negros Occidental with Ramy D. Entherro of Himamaylan as outstanding rice farmer. Outstanding Fisherfolk Mabini Mission of Binalbagon, while the Outstanding Farm Family is Mr. & Mrs. Eladio and Panganiban Family of Silay City. The Outstanding Young Farmer is Jason S Pelayo; Outstanding Corn Farmer – Bernard E. Dionedo of Bago City, Outstanding Agricultural Researcher is Engr. Jimbo P. Garsula of Bacolod City, Rebecca C. Tubongbanua is Outstanding Agri-Entrepreneur and the Buenas 4-Club is Outstanding Young Farmers Organization.

Iloilo’s NAMOCOH Farmers Organization is awarded Outstanding Small Farmers Association, New Lucena Municipal Agricultural and Fishery Council is Outstanding MAFC.

ASU and Agricultural Training Institute can not do more if the office of the Provincial Agriculturist is not well supported in terms of logistics, personnel complement, and managerial competence. Agricultural extension services demand technical and social skills of the technologist to assist the farm families. Technologists after being given their assignments must be fully assisted.

Considering the varied interest of Municipal LGUs headed by the mayors, food production to some is not their prime priority. The Agricultural Training Institute management and staff with the partnership of ASU agriculture scientists and members of the faculty may persuade LGU officials to assist the farm families in their quest to increase agricultural production and income.


Coconut-Niyog in Aklanon and Pilipino is dubbed the “tree of life” because of its several uses. The nuts are eaten as food, processed as oil either for medicine or for cooking. The trunk is used as construction material, as bridges and as firewood. The leaves are used as shade. The shell is manufactured into charcoal, while the hush is woven as rugs and soil cover to prevent soil erosion.

Coconut bearing trees can be “sanggutan” to produce sap for wine and vinegar. The coconut water (sabaw) is processed as coco juice. Do you have coconut trees? If non, plant coconut trees now. The trees are good wind break and shade. It helps reduce high temperature.

According to Philippine Coconut Authority in Kalibo, Aklan, there are 43, 357 hectares where 4,333,704 coconut trees are growing. There are 40, 271 coconut farms taken good care by 52,078 coconut farmers whose average is 58 years old. Can they withstand climate change? Can they climb coconut trees to harvest the nuts?

Of the total coconut trees growing, only 2,292,999 trees, or 50 percent are bearing. Some 1,745,339 are non bearing, while 297,371 are beyond 60 years old.

According to the PCA, a coconut tree produces 63 nuts annually. Hence, the almost three (3) million coconut trees in Aklan produce 189 million nuts a year. PCA Aklan further reported that it takes four (4) pieces of mature coconuts to produce one kilo of copra. Therefore, the 189 million nuts will give 47, 250, 000 kilograms or 47,250 metric tons of copra per year.

If we divide the 47, 250 metric tons by 12 months, Aklanon coconut farmers must be producing a monthly average of 3,104.11 metric tons. If this is sold at P23, 000 per metric ton, the gross will be P71, 395, 450 or an average of P1, 371 per month from copra alone.

However, is Aklan really producing 47,250 metric tons of copra annually? It is highly doubtful. Coconut oil processing plants in Kalibo and Banga closed due to the insufficient supply of raw material, copra.

Statistics remain valid unless a new and recent data is available and presented. PCA Aklan needs to update its figures in coconut. Typhoons may have toppled down several coconut trees. Some 3,000 core shelters are being built in Madalag and Balete using coconut lumber. Moreover, some families are cutting their trees for their own family use. Coconut statistics need updating. /MP

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