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Philippines: Coconut seed farms eyed for synthetic variety

The Department of Agriculture through the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) is eyeing the establishment of more coconut seed farms in strategic coconut-growing areas for its latest hybrid, the Orgullo Tall SV San Ramon Coconut Variety.

Otherwise known as the synthetic coconut variety, this superior coconut breed developed by scientists at the Philippine Coconut Authority -Zamboanga Research Center is a high-yielding coconut variety recognized as the first in the world, said Ramon L. Rivera, head of the PCA-Zamboanga Research Center.

Rivera presented the business prospects for technology transfer during an investor’s forum at the Nido Fortified Science Discovery Center at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City last week as part of the 5th National Biotechnology Week celebrations.

Dubbed as OK ang Kabuhayan Sa Biotech!, the forum aims to commercialize products of agricultural biotechnology through public-private partnership, said Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology Program Office (DA-BPO) outgoing director Alicia Ilaga.

She said through technology transfer, the DA-PCA and her office aims to encourage investors to help put up coconut seed farms all over the country to meet the expected increase in the demand for coconut both here and abroad.

“With the increasing demand for coconut because of the biofuels law, the prospects for putting up coconut seed farms are bright,” she said.

According to Rivera, the product, the first in the country and recognized as the first in the world, has a yield potential of 7,730 to 20,540 nuts per hectare or equivalent to 3.2 to 6.7 tons of copra per hectare.

He said the synthetic coconut variety produces 60 to 150 nuts per tree, a 50- to 260-percent more than the current average of 43.

“Unlike the hybrid palms, second generation SV San Ramon nuts can be replanted and assured to bear fruits even more. This pioneering genetically enhanced coconut variety combines high yield precocity, vigor, and durable genetic stability from generation to generation. This characteristic of the SV San Ramon fits the farmers’ unique tradition of planting seeds from any high-yielding tree for successive cropping,” he said.

According to the DFA-BPO, coconut production constitutes one of the four major sectors of Philippine agriculture, the others being rice, corn, and sugar.

Coconut is planted in 3.258 million hectares, which accounts for 27 percent of the total agricultural lands. About one-third of the Philippine population depends mainly on coconut production for its livelihood. Sixty-eight (68) of the 79 provinces in the country are in the coconut regions, producing an average of 14 billion nuts annually. In terms of export earnings, coconut is rated as an $800-million industry.

These facts could only underscore the coconut industry to obviously be of crucial importance to the country, Rivera stressed.

“A 50-hectare farm requires an estimated initial investment of P12 million. Financial projections showed that this investment could generate an IRR of 38 percent, with payback period of 10 years,” he said.

Meanwhile, individual farmer-investors who would like to develop a one-hectare of Syn Var monocrop, needs an estimated amount of P65,000. This amount excludes the cost of lot for development. In a 25-year projected production period, an IRR of 30 percent and a payback period of 11 years could be achieved, he said.


Publication date: 12/1/2009


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