Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Secretary Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, together with Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson, signed on Tuesday, 14 July 2015 a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the use of Coco Coir.
The Memorandum of Agreement aims to maximise the use of bio-engineering in irrigation system construction, roads, and highways, as well as to promote coco coir as an important coconut by-product that help mitigate the effects of climate change.
Also present in the MOA signing held in the recent National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Board Meeting is NIA Administrator Florencio Padernal and Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Administrator Romulo Arancon.
“This is a prime example of inter-agency cooperation that would help increase the income of our coconut farmers and improve their quality of life,” said Sec. Pangilinan. “It also helps save a substantial amount in government expenses and, in turn, is a sustainable aid in alleviating the impacts of climate change.”
The OPAFSAM will facilitate inter-agency initiatives and efforts between PCA, NIA, and DPWH, with NIA and DPWH expanding their programs to accommodate the use of coco coir. Information will be made available in-between agencies, with the PCA linking coco coir producers to the demand.
The use of coco coir has thus far yielded the DPWH Php 4 billion savings in 541 completed Bio-Engineered Coconet Erosion Control & Vegetable Solutions projects. If applied to the remaining 518 projects under the same program, it will take a total cost of Php 2.7 billion- which would otherwise have been Php 10.4 billion if traditional methods such as concrete were used.
NIA, likewise, will be implementing coconet complimentary projects, with a Php 273,226,000 budget for 2016.
The DPWH uses coco coir in exchange of concrete in the making of geo-nets for soil erosion control, slope stabilization and hydroseeding, while NIA uses coco coir in the construction of irrigation systems.