By JAMES TABABA
Giemel Ayap is a coconut farmer and coconut seedling trader from Tiaong, Quezon. Ayap’s journey to becoming a coconut farmer and seedling trader began with his previous experiences as an eggplant farmer and a swine and poultry raiser. In 2017, he was able to secure a contract farming job in Korea, but unfortunately, his work was halted due to the pandemic. This setback led him to explore new opportunities, and he eventually became interested in selling coconut planting materials. However, Ayap’s operation caught the attention of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Region IV, who reprimanded him for selling coconut planting materials without a trading certificate, which is considered illegal.
As a mandate of the Philippine Coconut authority to regulate and monitor the production and distribution of coconut planting materials, all persons engaged in the production, marketing, and export of coconut and coconut products are required to register with the PCA. This includes coconut farmers, traders, processors, and exporters. The purpose of the registration requirement is to ensure that the coconut industry is properly regulated and that all stakeholders comply with the standards and guidelines set by the PCA to promote the safety and quality of coconut products, as well as protect the interests of coconut farmers and other industry players.
Ayap found himself in a difficult situation where he needed to secure a certificate in order to continue his coconut trading business. Thankfully, with the guidance and assistance of Ramon Rivera, the Philippine Coconut Authority’s (PCA) regional manager of Region IVA, Ayap was able to successfully obtain a trader’s certificate.
To obtain a certificate, individuals are required to go through a thorough process which includes obtaining the necessary business registration documents, attending training and seminars, and passing the PCA’s compliance assessment. This ensures that only those who are knowledgeable and compliant with the PCA’s regulations are granted the certification to sell coconut planting materials.
Advantages of buying from PCA-certified seedling distributor
PCA-certified distributors are required to follow strict guidelines and quality standards set by the PCA to ensure that the coconut seedlings they distribute are of the highest quality. This includes using only disease-free seed nuts, maintaining proper growing conditions to prevent contamination, and selecting the best seedlings for distribution. Ayap only gets his supply of coconut seedlings from PCA-certified seed banks. By purchasing seedlings from a certified distributor, customers can be confident that they are getting high-quality seedlings that are healthy, vigorous, and genetically superior.
PCA-certified distributors usually have a large selection of registered coconut varieties. Farmers who wish to buy coconut seedlings can access a variety of seedlings that may not be available elsewhere. This allows them to choose the best seedling variety for their specific needs.
Ayap attended several seminars and training sessions about proper planting, cultivation, and maintenance of coconut seedlings, as well as soil preparation, irrigation, pest and disease management, and pruning of coconut trees. With this knowledge, he provides technical assistance to his customers to achieve the best growth and yield of their coconut trees.
By complying with all regulations related to the distribution of coconut seedlings, including adhering to strict biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of diseases and pests, maintaining proper documentation of seedling distribution, farmers can be confident that the seedlings are free from diseases and will not contribute to the spread of diseases or pests that may affect the whole coconut industry.
Ayap maintains a meticulous record of his coconut supply chain, enabling effortless traceability. By keeping track of the origin of each coconut, Ayap ensures that farmers can have complete confidence in the authenticity of the coconuts they purchase. In the event of any issues, Ayap works closely with the Philippine Coconut Authority to promptly facilitate appropriate action.
According to Ayap, the Philippine Coconut Authority is strongly committed to enforcing its guidelines. They are determined to prevent the spread of low-quality coconut and stop them from reproducing. The PCA wants to make sure that only the best quality coconuts are produced. By implementing these guidelines, they hope to improve the coconut industry and promote sustainable agriculture practices in the country.
In the next article, Ayap will share his five coconut varieties recommendations that are best suited for specific uses.
Photo courtesy of Giemel’s Quality Dwarf Coconut Seedlings