FARMERS REGISTRATION. The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Antique Provincial Office conducts mass registration among coconut farmers in Barangay Igburi, Patnongon on May 25. The PCA Antique on Wednesday (June 30, 2021) said they have already registered 25,000 farmers who could avail of benefits under Republic Act 11524 or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act. (Photo courtesy of PCA Antique)

SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – Coconut farmers from this province are optimistic that their lives will improve with the enactment of Republic Act Number 11524 or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act.

“Our federation is planning to put up a coconut farmers’ hub in the central part of Antique where the farmers would be able to consolidate their products and avail of training,” said Antique Federation of the Coconut Farmers, Inc. president Trinidad Eiman in an interview on Wednesday.

She said coconut is one agricultural product that could be turned into many useful items such as cooking oil, handicrafts, and coconut husks that they are planning to train more farmers on how to produce these in their hub.

She added that they are planning to make Antique the coconut industry center in the Philippines through the establishment of a seedling farm to encourage more farmers to plant.

Plans had long been there, however, they were not able to implement without funding, she said.

“The Republic Act Number 11524 signed by President (Rodrigo) Duterte is like a dream come true for us coconut farmers,” she said.

With this, she said that coconut farmers are encouraged to enroll with the National Coconut Farmers Registry System (NCFRS) to avail of benefits.

Flora Egonio, also an officer of the federation, has planted 30 coconut trees in her half a hectare land.

In February, she earned PHP3,000 from the copra that were taken from the coconut trees.

“If there will be a training for us, we could still make other by-products that could boost our income,” she said.

The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in Antique has already registered 25,000 coconut farmers in the province as of June 30 since the law was signed on February 2021.

“The coconut farmers registered with the NCFRS would be recipients of various assistance,” said Antique head Rey Gillera in a separate interview.

He said that hopefully starting next year portion of the multi-billion peso trust fund will be allocated for more scholarships and training of children of coconut farmers, insurance for coconut trees, and farm machinery.

“The PCA also plans to issue identification cards which is also a cash card for farmers registered with the NCFRS so that they could directly withdraw their incentives,” he said. (PNA)