Fri, 04/14/2023 - 10:37


Jolo, Sulu- The season-long School On-the-Air (SOA) on Coconut Production under the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP) was officially launched in Sulu Province last March 28, 2023, at PCA-Sulu Satellite Office, this town. 

The Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act, or CFITF, was created following former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's signing of Republic Act 11524 on February 26, 2021. Executive Order 172, signed on June 2, 2022, gave approval to the plan.

Through the CFITF, Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Program (CFIDP) was created. It aims to consolidate the benefits for the poor and marginalized coconut farmers and to increase the income and productivity of the country's 2.5 million coconut farmers, as well as to promote poverty alleviation, education, and social equity, as well as to rehabilitate and modernize the Philippine coconut industry.

In line with this, the CFIDP was developed to set the directions, policies, and mechanisms to attain these objectives. The plan lays out the components, strategies, and Implementing Agencies (IAs) for each component. Among the agencies is the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), being the capacity builder, knowledge bank and catalyst of the Department of Agriculture.

Under its training component, the ATI shall conduct a Season-long School On-the-Air (SOA) Program to teach the coconut farmers the proper technology and harness their skills in coconut production across the value chain. Aside from efficiently sharing and scaling cutting-edge technologies, radio has a cascading effect on policymakers and LGUs to mainstream modern agriculture in local agriculture policies and programs. Being handy, portable, and cheap, radio is a practical and creative solution to rural farmers' massive information and educational needs, many of whom have yet to be reached by government capacity-building programs.

Titled Masaganang Coco-Buhayan: Radyo Eskwela sa Pagninyugan, the SOA on Coconut Production enrolled five hundred (500) coconut farmers across the province who will be educated on the proper knowledge and technology in coconut production across the value chain. 

During the said launching, Center Director Abdul I. Daya-an mentioned that the SOA is one among the many services of the CFIDP and is implemented to capacitate the coconut farmers and their families.

Meanwhile, MAFAR-Sulu Provincial Director Engr. Alfie Iribani was present during the launching. In his message, he noted the strong support of their agency in implementing the programs under the CFIDP. 

The said launching has also paved the way for signing the memorandum of agreement among the involved agencies and the identified Municipal SOA Coordinators. After the launching, a ceremonial turn-over of the 500 radio and training kits was done. 

500 coconut farmers from the Municipalities of Omar, Patikul, Indanan, Talipao and Maimbung are officially enrolled in this program and are set to complete the season-long SOA for sixteen weeks from March 27, 2023, to July 14, 2023.

At the end of the 16 episodes of the SOA on Coconut Production, the participants shall be able to discuss the Philippine Coconut Industry Situation and CFIDP; discuss the different parts and functions of a coconut and seednut; identify appropriate coconut varieties based on farmer needs; identify appropriate plantation management methods and practices; distinguish symptoms of common coconut pests and diseases; explain different methods of farm diversification; learn proper harvesting and postharvest practices applied to coconut; recognize economic variables that affect profits in the coconut value chain; describe the environmental and personnel safety precautions to be observed along the coconut value chain; and assess respective farms based on the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) requirements.