Reviving Typhoon-Damaged Coconut Farms: A Farmer and Public Servant’s Story
“I have replanted all the damaged coconut trees on my farm while I help other farmers recover their livelihood”, shared Juvy Laguansa, 50, a farmer and public servant in Barangay Genemoan, Loon, Bohol.
He has been tilling more than half a hectare of a farm for the past 14 years and has experienced several ups and downs through these years. However, it was typhoon Odette, internationally known as Rai that left him and his family uncertain of how they could bounce back when it ravaged the province on December 16, 2021. Its harsh winds felled several decades-old coconut trees on his farm. The mahogany trees were also severely damaged. He and his family primarily rely on coconut farming and were expecting a huge return when they would eventually harvest the mahogany trees. Hence, it was difficult for them to suffer such a huge loss.
He further shared that even before the typhoon, most of the coconut farmers in the province were already suffering from losses because of the fluctuating price of copra and the exploitation by middlemen who buy their produce at low prices and provide loans for agricultural inputs at excessive interest rates.
“Without inputs, we couldn’t start anew. There was also a lack of seednuts or seedlings because every coconut farmer in Bohol was heavily affected at that time”, he added.
The Philippine Coconut Authority recorded that over 3 million coconut trees were toppled by the typhoon in Bohol. The provincial nurseries were also heavily damaged. With coconuts taking three to five years before bearing fruit, coconut farmers would have to find ways to thrive.
When the RISE Coco project was introduced to their community, Juvy, felt relieved that, finally help was coming for the sixty-four (64) typhoon-affected coconut farmers in Barangay Genemoan, including himself. As a key barangay official, he felt the need for the barangay local government unit (BLGU) to take part in ensuring that the project would achieve its goal of reviving the small-scale coconut farms and recovering affected households’ source of livelihood. The BLGU facilitates the scheduling and organizing of climate change-resilient farming training and provides venues, logistics, and security for project activities.
Photo: Juvy Laguansa talks to PCA National Director Bernie F. Cruz and Cargill Philippines’ Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Development for Philippines and Vietnam, Jennifer Sabianan during their visit to the locally managed nursery.
As a beneficiary, he helps in managing the community-based nursery and ensures that seed nuts and seedlings are taken care of. He also encourages fellow farmers to continue learning and applying good agriculture practices that they learned from the training, not only in propagating coconuts but also in other crops.
“From the training, I noted how important financial literacy is in farming because I can track the costs of inputs, expenses, and income. It also helped me in finding ways that I could manage the household finances”, he said.