DA considers Plant Now-Pay Later scheme for abaca farmers in Southern Leyte
The Department of Agriculture plans to adopt a Plant-Now-Pay-Later scheme to boost the country’s abaca production in Leyte and help farmers increase their income at the same time.
In a statement, the DA said Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol has already informed President Rodrigo Duterte of the plan for the rehabilitation of the abaca industry in Leyte, the province where the president was born.
“There is a great demand for abaca all over the world and there are only three countries producing it: Philippines (original producer), Ecuador, and Costa Rica,” Piñol said.
Government is hoping to plant abaca in some 90,000 hectares nationwide. The abaca will be planted in areas planted with coconut trees to maximize land use and increase incomes of farmers as it gives them additional crops to sell without expanding their land. The Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority will be introducing a new technology that will allow farmers to plant 4,000 abaca seedlings per hectare. At present, farmers only plant 1,600 abaca seedlings a hectare. PhilFida OIC executive director Victor Prodigo said other crops can also be planted with the coconut trees and the abaca such as coffee, cacao, ginger, and turmeric that can further boost farmers’ incomes.
In a dialogue with abaca farmers last week, Piñol said government has an initial funding of P100 million for the abaca rehabilitation program that will be released through the local government of Sogod, Southern Leyte.
“The abaca production support to farmers will be under a tripartite agreement of Plant Now, Pay later scheme,” Piñol said. PhilFida has been ordered to start conducting intensive technical training to farmers from the production of abaca planting materials, disease management, accurate fertilizer application, proper planting techniques and cultural management practices.