TACLOBAN CITY – A year after Super Typhoon Odette (Rai) devastated Southern Leyte province, only 110,000 coconut seedlings have been provided to farmers to replace the more than three million coconut trees damaged by the calamity.
Citing reports from the Philippine Coconut Authority, Southern Leyte 2nd district Representative Christopherson Yap said the replaced trees are just a fraction of the trees toppled and sheared by the destructive typhoon.
In an interview Monday, Yap said the small number of coconut seedlings provided to farmers was not sufficient to cover the losses and for the province to recover faster.
“With this very small number of coconut seedlings as replacement of the damage coconut trees, it will take a long time before the coconut industry and farmers in Southern Leyte can recover from the devastation of Odette,” Yap said.
The typhoon that struck parts of Visayas and Mindanao on Dec. 16, 2021, has damaged more than 10 million coconut trees, with around 3.5 million of these beyond recovery.
Most of these coconut trees are in Panaon Island, under the second congressional district of the province.
Yap, however, said he understood why the PCA could not immediately provide the required coconut seedlings to the region as the source in Zamboanga has a limited capacity.
“We are pushing for PCA to put up coconut seedling farms in the province for them to have a local source,” Yap said.
Currently, the PCA focuses its efforts on clearing operations to ensure that newly planted coconut trees will not be affected by the infestation. The operation is expected to be finished before the end of the year. (PNA)