EAV differentiates itself by not getting immersed in the "hamster wheel" of requesting funds, doing the work, and justifying more funding. EAV’s metric of success is to become redundant when the village has successfully demonstrated independence from the organization’s assistance and be a thriving community. EAV can then move on elsewhere to make an impact and alleviate poverty.

Photo by Avel Chuklanov

Soft Power over Hard Power

Grand iDiaz November 22,2020

Power is the ability to influence others to get desirable results. Their concepts and accessibility can determine the effectiveness of both soft and hard power. Having both abilities is a sure hit towards achieving goals; however, only one should outstand in the pursuit. The vigor that is significant to the organization's mission is the one that should stick out.

Hard power may mean transactional. It can be executed through military threats, economic stimulation, and tangible resources. In employing hard power, there is a chance at large of bullying and buy and bargain. It is less useful today because of its global system changes due to its undesirable features.

Soft power, on the other hand, is inspirational. It is the ability to manage relationships, emotional awareness, and control. It can change the preferences of others. The capacity to attract others to achieve goals or to have what someone wants is another feature of this power.

How significant is power? Can we use both powers to ensure growth and sustainability? Would it be useful in re-structuring the less favored right to live fruitfully? Could it quench the thirst for quality education? or Could it build a haven for the homeless?...

Both abilities are essential in optimizing the level of tolerance in most cases. But in achieving goals to alleviate poverty, scarcity of resources, and limited access to education, one power may dominate the other. The dominance that carries out a mission brings on success to the table without enforcing threats, inducements, and exchange.

Shared objectives, one feature that makes soft power protrude. It is leveraging the level of failure to acquire appropriate resources for the achievement of ones' ends. The ability to put oneself in another's place is an incentive to engage in public benefit acts like placing donations and or volunteer work. Now, this is the challenge of achieving success. Supposing someone's disposition is somehow better than the one that seeks help.

source: google.com/image

Thinking beyond limits...

Argie February 17 ,2020

It was 2017 when they referred me to the home for orphaned and abandoned boys in Bacolod City. It happened when people around us noticed how our family was getting complicated. There were times we couldn't eat for at most twice a day due to the instability of my father's job.

Money plays a significant role in the lives of every family or to a particular person like me. In my family, it became one of the main factors of misunderstanding. I could not even go to school once because I needed to find a temporary job or sidelines to earn money, so we could be able to eat dinner. Several people, relatives or non-relatives, wanted to adopt me, but I don't want to leave my grandmother just for this little cause. I refused them, of course. Throwing all of my dreams into trash is the one thing that I will not ever do in my life.

My brother was referred to in that orphanage, first, because he became involved in trouble, and personnel got them. After a few months, I followed him not because I made a mistake, but because they wanted to help me in my study. I doubted, of course, because I was not getting used to doing it then, to deal with new people. There were still worries before I leave my hometown, but whispers on my ear on grabbing a prize challenged me to deal with it...

An adjustment was never that easy, and it took me months to adapt to another environment and to familiarize different faces of different people. I met friends - some were true while others were not. But, they made a little bit change on me, to hold back for just a while and to take a nap for just a second. The only thing I did not wholly change was my focus on reaching my dreams. No one has ever hindered me to quit dreaming, neither. In fact, I gained more confidence and more trust in myself than ever been before. I became stronger because I knew that I was on my way to success. Yet, I did not do it with ease.

This home, I thought firstly, was not the right place for me because I expected it was just for those who have done wrong against human rights, and I wasn't right. Inside this home, I discovered a lot of potentials that I never expected. I awaken the sleeping dream of mine, which is to become a pilot that I still do not know how I came up with dreaming it. The home also provided me options like to pursue engineering, but I don't think I am sure to do it. I also discovered my passion for music, except playing instruments tho. I worked wisely with my academics, and I was thrilled when I became the first honor of my batch.

Before I finished my junior high school, I have been through a lot of tests that proved to me I am strong. Many people tried to underestimate my strength, my capacity, but it didn't work for me. Yes, I failed many times, not just once, not even twice, but hundreds of failures, though it doesn't mean you just lay down there and wait for your fall to cover you up with negativity. Somewhat, I stood up, and I fought for I believed I could not let it just happen.

Now, I am a senior high graduating student, and I know that it only takes fewer steps on the ladder before I put my dreams on my palm.

See, my life's not that too broad, right? Well, it is just part of the pages of my book. It is just an important chapter that I could not even deny into the whole world.

source: google.com/image

source: google.com/image

No perfect life can make you satisfied...

Argie February 17 ,2020

The influential people in our development are the reasons why we are not quitting, right? They taught me how to give value on every morning I open my eyes to witness how the sun rises from its hide and colorizes the valleys. They also taught me how I strengthen my faith deep within and know how God goes along with my side all the time.

At my younger age, I knew that I could not create such excellent things, just like what professionals do. Though, I tried to locate the right place where I truly belong. As a return to my family’s sacrifice, I did everything appropriate for my studies, and firstly, I thought it would be enough to make them proud. I mean, not all of them, my grandmother does. Ever since I was a kid, I never felt that my father noticed my hard work. He only heeded how I committed mistakes, then scolded me and smacked me with a pipe or stick, a large and sturdy stick. There were times I felt like my younger brother was superior to me in terms of the attention given by my father. However, I never hated him, and I should never be no matter how arduous is he to chastise and hurt me from a non-sense basis...

After my mother passed away, when I was around ten, that was 2011, everything has altered. My father always went home drunk and sometimes could never reach the house before lying down on his bed. Two years later, he chose to love another woman, assuming that our family needed a mother to take custody of us. I saw how he grieved after mom left him, so I accepted that woman undoubtedly. I knew that she already has three children, but I still do not know how they met and got to know each other. A few years have crossed, and we had no sound connection, even with our communication. We sometimes fight due to disagreement, and I guess that is enough to say that our family was no good at all.

I never felt to be weary of fulfilling my goal, which is to have good grades and finishing my dream. I went to school with an empty belly, but I thought that would be fine, and I could make it. I never told anyone about it and, one day, I dropped on the floor of our classroom. It was nothing for me. And, with God’s providence, all sacrifices were still worth it. I became one of the honor students of our class, and through that, the school granted me a scholarship.

After I completed Grade 8, my father told me that I could not be able to graduate, but I still found a sort of way. I entered a summer job in the city, and there I was assigned to be a boy-helper. I think God is truly good to me since He gave me another blessing. I became a scholar again after my teacher discovered that I worked just to purchase my school supplies. I was very fortunate, and I heartedly praise God for that unexpected gift.

One of the thousand wishes I wish is to be recognized by my father, and I hope that day would come.

No quitting...

Argie February 17 ,2020

" No man is an island." No man has ever been born just to savor his life solely. As social beings, we are here to go with the people who will mold us into a suitable version of ourselves.

Notwithstanding my family's circumstances, I grasp giving up is possible. Likewise, I was not here to deal with it. I exist because I believe I am capable of attesting myself.

Firstly, I never give up because of a woman who taught me to articulate righteousness, my grandmother. She is a selfless but the mightiest woman I have ever met in my whole life. Nonetheless, behind these strengths, there were still secrets she never showed us about, and we should not know definitely. We have a good relationship with each other, more intimate with my mother and my father. I discovered how to look at the very seeming point of this life. Soon I concede how this life of mine deviates from others. It is quite low, but I know there is something better plan served for me in the future...

Secondly, I have one and only brother, one year younger than me. Many people are comparing me to him, that we were totally unlike in terms of intentions, motives, plans, and even in intellect. They have a point. My brother is exactly my opposite. I prefer to study hard to aim for good grades, but he does not. He does not mind as if he expects nothing for his life. He prefers to get involved in a conflict, which drives people to recognize him badly. He attempted several times to steal something because he likes to. But, I also do not care about our diversities as a brother. I do not know what he is proficient in that maybe I am not. I know he is someone who is just waiting for the right moment to bloom and take a blast afterward.

These two people I have mentioned are very significant to me, and I would not even possibly find out the real me without them. My grandmother and my obstinate brother, I love them both. I owe so much for who I am today because of their motivations and influence.

I assert I would never waste any single tears for them. It is not because I do not miss them but because I'm doing all of these, to be good, for them. Besides, I know they are stronger than me. I live my life naturally, so do they.


Mishaps to Live...

Argie February 17 ,2020

Before we born, we are already pre-destined to create our stories. We have our books, blanked and spacious, to fill in with words and everlasting memories of our lives.

I was skeptical in life after I lost my mother, and after my father abandoned me. Actually, they did not have time to raise me since then. My grandmother did. Alone.

Afraid to not survive, I began to dream bigger, which makes me learn to strive in life. For me, this life is not just all about success. Yes, it is. Sometimes, it is about progress.

For over nine years of sparing my foot at the rocky six-mile distant road every day, I never attempted to pause nor hold my breath to end the game. I know I don't have a perfect family, but they are still great for me. They are always will be. Nonetheless, I don't even hate them because I know they were the ones who shape me to be a strong man today. I think I already have recognized the twenty-five percent of my potential, and now I am still seeking the best version that I can be.

I tried to surrender everything from me. I tried to pretend that I am okay, but in fact, I'm not. I tried to swallow my pride every time I see people are bashing me and to keep my lips zipped whenever I hear somebody's trying to drag me down. Before, I don't know how to fight, but as time went along, I learned it. I realized I must choose the accurate time to let go and the exact time to open up considerably...

This story is not just for you to believe in me and to be proud of me. I am writing this because I want to inspire everyone that no matter how hard your life becomes, you must never stop. Just keep going. When there are people who say you cannot ever make it to the end, prove them they are wrong.

To those who are reading this, you are lucky. Unlike people who tirelessly go anywhere in search of food, clothing, shelter, or even money to spare, they can not feel what you have.

I want to keep everyone reminded that this life has a broad sense of responsibility. There is no need of dragging others down. Instead, let us help everyone to rise from the ashes for us to create another innovative flame, again.

Planting Rice - A village effort

Alfonso Galarpe November 17,2019

A scene of the farms in Kuyaoyao village and of the villagers working together to plant rice. After a days work, the villagers still manages to put a smile on their faces.

Creating Sustainable Charities: How to know when to exit

Hanna Stoner May 23, 2019

International charities often measure their success with numbers such as how many children are able to attend school, or how many people now have access to food. While these quantitative measures are useful, often charities jump from project to project using these past numbers as justification for moving onto the next project. This creates a cycle of charities asking for funding, doing the work they needed the funding for, then using the completed work to justify the need for future projects. This cycle is inevitable to an extent in most charities. Charities need to use past projects to show that their organization is legitimate and that they are actually putting the funding towards charitable projects. It is important for charities to take a step back and consider what their ultimate goal is, and if these smaller projects are actually helping them achieve their goal or if it is just a cycle of trying to obtain more funding. Considering the need that charities have for their supporters and donations it is challenging to find this balance...

Redundancy is an issue in charitable work, there are so many charitable organizations at this point that have plans to exist indefinitely. For charities to truly achieve their goals they should not exist indefinitely, they should be able to reach their goal and then leave the area. To reach the point where the community is able to sustain the changes and carry out the work on their own is a better goal for charities. Instead of continuing the cycle of small projects that appear to be impressive so that the organization can obtain more funding, charities can focus on a larger project that actually will accomplish the long-term goal. Once accomplishing this goal the charity can lessen their involvement and just become a supporter for the cause. This is a much better allocation of resources, since then the community can work towards the goal which empowers local people.

At Enhance a Village we are working to alleviate poverty in the Philippines. We are working with a small village, Kuyaoyao to help implement sustainable farming techniques. We are doing this by laying the foundation to help local people help themselves. We recognize that the best way to truly help these people is to give them the tools and educational foundation to use these tools in the way best fit for their needs. Essentially, we are trying to address the root problem instead of just symptoms. Enhance a Village recognizes that the way to be an effective charity is to implement sustainable practices that can be used by local people after we are no longer directly involved. Instead of planning to be permanently in Kuyaoyao we are shifting resources and knowledge from Enhance a Village to the people of Kuyaoyao. The projects we undertake are truly sustainable in the sense that one day the people in Kuyaoyao will be able to continue the projects with minimal outside support. Currently we are working to achieve three objectives, clean water, food security and education through a library to ensure a self-sustaining community capable of educating their children and bringing their community out of poverty. If you would like to be a part of our efforts please consider volunteering or making a donation.

What Is Sustainable Investing?

Alfonso Galarpe February 06, 2019

Sustainable investing is a broad term for investment approaches that consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and their impact (French, 2017). Every investor should be concerned with ESG if we are to leave a legacy for a future generation should we manage not to devastate our planet. Emphasize to good stewardship of the environment, and its populated globe lies within each to govern our most precious resources with or without government intervention. Investors have a tremendous influence on the corporate world to put ESG in priority tempered with its objective to increase stock prices.

Our society as a whole is maturing to demand social and environmental impact for the greater good. Corporations has no choice but to comply with the change of time. Thus ESG stocks will outperform non-ESG stocks. Invest in funds with social enterprise organizations; for-profit businesses that trade to internationally tackle social problems, improve communities, provide people access to employment, training, or help with the environment (Social Enterprise Definition, n.d.)

ReferencesFrench, S. (2017, October 17). ESG in Focus: What Is Sustainable Investing? Retrieved from Oppenheimer Funds: https://www.oppenheimerfunds.com/advisors/article/esg-in-focus-what-is-sustainable-investingSocial Enterprise definition. (n.d.). Retrieved from Social Traders: https://www.socialtraders.com.au/about-social-enterprise/what-is-a-social-enterprise/social-enterprise-definition/

Why Coconut Oil is Healthy

Hanna Stoner May 24, 2018

Coconut oil has recently become a more popular type of oil to use for cooking, skin care and other everyday uses. Coconut oil is unique, it is half Lauric acid which raises HDL more than other saturated fat foods (Boldt, 2018). HDL is the “good” cholesterol. Research has discovered the secretes to this superfood, the main reason that it is so beneficial is because it has healthy fats called medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). Roughly 62 percent of oils of coconut oil is made from Caprylic acid, Lauric acid and Capric acid, which are healthy fatty acids.

Many of the fats we consume take longer to digest than these fats (Boldt, 2018). The MCFA’s in coconut oil provide a great source of energy because they only go through a three-step process to be turned into your body’s fuel. Other fats have to go through a process that has more than 25 steps (Boldt, 2018). Some other benefits of MCFA’s are that they are not readily stored as fat, have antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties, the fats are smaller in size which allows easier cell permeability and they are processed by the liver which means they’re converted to energy instead of being stored as fat (Boldt, 2018).

Coconut oil is a great alternative to other cooking oils, as well as a great product for skincare and haircare.

See Related Topic:

The Benefits of Coconut Oil

Seven Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut Hybrids: An Elixir of Life

How Virgin Coconut Oil Can Care For Your Body


Boldt, Ethan. “Coconut Oil Benefits How to Get the Benefits of Coconut Oil.” Dr. Axe, Dr. Axe, 23 Jan. 2018, draxe.com/coconut-oil-benefits/.

Seven Benefits of Coconut Oil

Hanna Stoner May 22, 2018

1. Mitigating the Impacts of Aging

Coconut oil has been shown to eliminate some of the effects of aging and neurodegeneration (Drouet, 2002).

2. Help Eliminate Alzheimer's Symptoms

Coconut oil creates an alternate source of energy to help repair brain function. Has been shown to help Alzheimer’s patients since they often lose the ability to create its owns insulin. The ketones from coconut oil can create an alternate source of energy that helps repair brain function (Newport, 2015)

3. Reduces Inflammation and Arthritis

Based on a study in India the high level of antioxidants available in virgin coconut oil reduced inflammation and treated arthritis better than leading arthritis medications (Vysakh, 2014)...

4. Boost the Immune System

Coconut oil contains lauric acid, also known as monolaurin. Monolaurin is known to fight bacteria, reduce candida and create an uninhabitable environment for viruses (Boldt, 2018)

5. Prevents Gum Disease and Tooth Decay

This can be done by coconut oil pulling, which is essentially when one rinses their mouth with coconut oil for 10-20 minutes. This is known to clean teeth, prevent gum disease, tooth decay and generally whiten teeth (Boldt, 2018).

6. Helps Weight Loss

Many studies suggest that coconut oil may reduce waist circumference, often referred to as “belly fat”. This specific study of women with abdominal obesity showed that coconut oil would reduce abdominal fat (Assuncao, 2009).

7. Hair Care

Coconut oil also is known to help people naturally condition their hair. It can be used as a regular conditioner or as a deep conditioner.

See Related Topic:

The Benefits of Coconut Oil

Why Coconut Oil is Healthy

Coconut Hybrids: An Elixir of Life

How Virgin Coconut Oil Can Care For Your Body

  • Assunção, M.L., Ferreira, H.S., dos Santos, A.F. et al. Lipids (2009) 44: 593. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11745-009-3306-6
  • Boldt, Ethan. “Coconut Oil Benefits How to Get the Benefits of Coconut Oil.” Dr. Axe, Dr. Axe, 23 Jan. 2018, draxe.com/coconut-oil-benefits/.
  • Drouet, Béatrice, et al. “Laminin 1 Attenuates β-Amyloid Peptide Aβ(1-40) Neurotoxicity of Cultured Fetal Rat Cortical Neurons.” Journal of Neurochemistry, vol. 73, no. 2, 2002, pp. 742–749., doi:10.1046/j.1471-4159.1999.0730742.x.
  • Newport, Mary T., et al. “A New Way to Produce Hyperketonemia: Use of Ketone Ester in a Case of Alzheimers Disease.” Alzheimers & Dementia, vol. 11, no. 1, 2015, pp. 99–103., doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2014.01.006.
  • Vysakh, A., et al. “Polyphenolics Isolated from Virgin Coconut Oil Inhibits Adjuvant Induced Arthritis in Rats through Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Action.” International Immunopharmacology, vol. 20, no. 1, 2014, pp. 124–130., doi:10.1016/j.intimp.2014.02.026.

The Legal System of the Philippines Compared to the U.S. Legal System

Hanna Stoner February 28, 2018

While legal systems are often similarly structured, there are differences between how the systems work in different counties. The legal system in the Philippines is a mixture of civil, common, Islamic and customary law. Their formal system of trials, appeals and prisons is comparable to the United State’s systems.

In the Philippines they have their own legal code, which has changed over time. Since 1946 the laws that have been passed by congress including legal codes have been entitled the Republic Acts. These codes are based on Spanish and Anglo-American law, with Islamic law applying mostly to the southern regions of the Philippines.

Similar to the US, the legal system is very busy and decisions can take a while. The majority of the decisions are criminal law, family law and land law...

In the Philippines they do not have Tort law or bankruptcy law. The Republic Acts do not include or define Tort law. The most similar concept to Torts is Quasi-delict or negligence. The primary difference is that there is no concept of absolute liability for a manufacturer or employer as we have the U.S.

Another major difference is that the plaintiff has the burden of proof in negligence cases, and the injured person’s (plaintiff’s) actions are taken into account. This is a relatively large burden of proof, which is one of the reasons why the courts in the Philippines are not overburdened with negligence cases.

An additional difference between the U.S. and Philippines legal system is how bankruptcy is handled. Bankruptcy is covered by the insolvency acts, and the burden of proof is on the debtor. Usually this type of bankruptcy does not result in the dissolution of debt, instead the debt is restructured. So unlike in the U.S. if you declare bankruptcy in the Philippines you like still have to pay your debt.

One of the most apparent differences between the two systems is that there is no trial by jury in the Philippines. This can be attributed to Spanish influences. The trials are decided by judges, which can be an issue if one believes the judge to be unfair.

If you have interests in learning more about the legal system in the Philippines, or are interested in volunteering with Enhance a Village click here.


Donating a Vehicle to Enhance a Village

Hanna Stoner February 20, 2018

Donating your vehicles such as cars, boats or farming equipment can provide opportunities for families in the Philippines’s. Enhance a Village will use, repair or give your car donation to farmers in the Philippines. This can give famers access to tools that make farming more efficient.

Donating your vehicles also can help you! You could potentially get a tax deduction. Enhance a Village is a 501 (c)(3) organization, which means we are a qualified charity for a tax deductions. If you simply want to get rid of your car, and do not care about tax deductions, simply fill out this form and we can arrange to have your car picked up!

If you want to maximize your tax deduction, it is best to meet with someone knowledgeable about finance, but generally it is still a simply process! Your car’s value will be assessed and you will receive the necessary paperwork for a tax deduction. Due to the changes brought by the tax bill passed in December 2017, it may be best to consult a financial advisor or tax preparer. Generally, prior to this change, it was best to itemize your deduction if you donated your vehicle. Be sure to keep track of all of your documents once you have donated your car, to make filing your taxes is simple.

If you have questions you can call us at 808-852-9866. To get started simply fill out this form!

Your donation has the chance to change the lives of many!

Fair Trade in the Philippines Part 2

Michelle Plouse January 29, 2018

I discussed in the first part of this blog the issues of the Fair Trade system. Fair Trade is challenged by a very fundamental issue-- an information deficit.

It is incredibly difficult to create a market in which all sellers and buyers have detailed information about their options. Most people, especially in the west buy their goods from strangers and have no idea where they came from, how they were made, how employees were treated, or anything of that nature. Without this information they can’t make an informed decision, and less worthy products may succeed, especially if marketing money and cheap prices support them. Certification programs exist to deal with this very problem. They evaluate companies and hold them to standards and then pass the information to the consumer through a label. This is not necessarily a bad strategy, but we have to admit that accurately representing thousands of companies can be incredibly difficult and misrepresentation can be very harmful. There is also a lot of information that simply can’t be quantified and labeled: the family bonds built around a business, a farmer’s sense of humor, or tiny acts of community service. The personal touches that draw people to support a business get lost in standardization.

So what do we do? What are some ways that we can close the information deficit and ensure that producers are getting the sales and prices that they truly deserve?...

Well, it really comes down to personal relationships. Certifications can’t capture much detail, but people can. Human interactions between producer and consumer are the best way to flood the market with adequate information. In fact, these interactions and relationships are essential all across our global economy, but they are often only limited to the upper levels of a business. We may buy something at the grocery store without speaking to anyone, but in order for the food to reach the shelves, the top managers of the company need to create relationships with distributors and producers.

In much smaller economies, trade was and is intensely personal for everyone, not just the elite. For example:

“Among the northwest Alaska Inuit, the Agta of the Philippines, Trobriand Islanders, and the !Kung, each person has recognized trading partners with whom gifts are exchanged. Each Inuit has between one and six such partners. Agta and African Pygmy hunter-gatherers have relationships with Philippine and Bantu farmer families respectively, and those relationships are passed on from generation to generation,” (Diamond, J. (2013). The World Until Yesterday. New York: Penguin Books, p. 66).

Long-term relationships grease the wheels of trade. They make it possible for people to negotiate without fearing for their safety, and to trust the product they receive. Although relationships with large corporations can be simple and have lower prices, direct producer-consumer relationships offer unmatched confidence in a product and socio-emotional benefits.

Enhance a Village can help create connections between consumers and Filipino farmers. We already have established relationships in several communities and help the farmers there export their goods to the US. American consumers can learn about the people behind the product and how the profit from their products is being used to help lift them out of poverty. But why just read? Enhance a Village is a small, personal organization. Those who really want to make relationships and trade on a personal level can reach out, get involved, and start making connections.

Vehicle Donation Q&A

Hanna Stoner January 24, 2018

If you are considering donating your car, truck, airplane, farming equipment or boat consider donating it to Enhance a Village. Enhance a Village is committed to helping better educate, develop sustainability and offer solutions and opportunities to rural communities in the Philippines. You can provide the tools needed to empower villages out of poverty! You can donate your car by filling out this form or calling (808)-852-9866.

Here are some common Q & A about the donation process.

Q: What can I donate?

A: Cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, boats, RVs, airplanes, farming equipment and other motorized vehicles. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about what you can donate.

Q: Can I donate a vehicle that is not operable?

A: Yes! It will likely have a salvage value and still can be donated. It also could potentially be repaired...

Q: Will I have to pay anything?

A: No, you wont! You will likely actually get money through a tax deduction.

Q: What do I need to make a donation?

A: You need the title for your vehicle, and you will need to answer a few questions and then schedule a pick-up time.

Q: How will I get a tax deduction

A: You can deduct your charitable contribution if you itemize deductions on your schedule A of form 1040. The maximum amount you can deduct is the fair market value of your car. This website has more information: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/pub4303.pdf We also can assist you with this process!

Q: What will be done with my vehicle?

A: It will be used or repaired by Enhance a Village or gifted to farmers overseas in the Philippines.

Photo Credit to The Naked Scientist

Food Wastes as Fish Feeds

Hanna Stoner November 20, 2017

There have been many recent advances in potential feed solutions for fish. This has been sparked by the increasing need for food, and decreasing amounts in space available for food production. You can read more about this issue in my prior post here.

Worldwide there have been dramatic increases in population, which has lead to increases in waste. There is a lot of food waste as well, in the U.S it is estimated that between 30-40% of the food supply is disposed of as waste (“Frequently Asked Questions”). Much of this food is wholesome, edible and not contaminated. This food waste is the largest component going to landfills and quickly generates methane. Instead of letting this food waste, this food could be recycled and used as fish feed. In China they have used leftover food items, fit for human consumption, to feed fish. Corn meal, bread, noodles, flour and biscuits have been used to feed freshwater fish in South China (Lau et al, 2003)...

There are some issues with the implementation of food waste, since there are different food wastes from different sources, such as domestic homes versus commercial food companies or agriculture. Without the ability to properly separate different foods at the source, it would be challenging to produce a consistently nutritious feed. This could be done through implementing solid state fermentation, which would process food waste from single-food sources (such as manufactures) that could enhance crude protein as well as overall nutritional value (Lateef et al., 2008). Additionally, vitamins or supplements can be added to these food wastes to make them more consistently nutritional to fish. Although this has been primarily researched with fish at lower trophic levels (herbivores and omnivores), food waste based pellets have the potential to be processed to feed higher trophic level fish (carnivores) (Lau et al, 2003).

Enhance a Village is working to develop sustainable solutions for fisheries, and for agricultural areas of the Philippines. If you would like to learn more you can click here, if you would like to become involved you can donate or become involved by volunteering.

Frequently Asked Questions. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2017, from https://www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste/faqs.htmA. Lateef, J.K. Oloke, E.G. Kana, S.O. Oyeniyi, O.R. Onifade, A.O. Oyeleye, O.C. Oladosu, A.O. Oyelami. "Improving the quality of agro-wastes by solid-state fermentation: enhanced antioxidant activities and nutritional qualities". World J. Microb. Biot., 24 (2008), pp. 2369-2374T.S.K. Lau, J.C.W. Lee, L. Young. "Pilot Project to Raise Awareness of the Ecological Importance of Pond-fish Farming in the Mai Po Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site. World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong" (2003).Ming-Hung Wong, Wing-Yin Mo, Wai-Ming Choi, Zhang Cheng, Yu-Bon Man, "Recycle food wastes into high quality fish feeds for safe and quality fish production, In Environmental Pollution," Volume 219, 2016, Pages 631-638, ISSN 0269-7491, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2016.06.035.

Fair Trade in the Philippines

Michelle Plouse November 16, 2017

The Fair Trade movement is fairly small in the Philippines but has been growing in recent years. It is comprised of a mix of small cooperatives and multinational corporations. For the vast majority of Filipino farmers, any Fair Trade certification is far too expensive to be a realistic option. Generally, the small co-ops are certified by Fair Trade and the large corporations by Fair Trade USA. The two organizations split over a differing view of multinational corporations’ role in Fair Trade. Fair Trade USA has changed certain strategies and standards in an attempt to bring larger companies into the Fair Trade market.[1] Many, including the World Fair Trade Organization fear that the presence of multinationals in the Fair Trade market makes it difficult for co-ops and small farmers to compete in the Fair Trade market.[2] For the very poorest farmers, it would be nonsensical to pay high certification fees to enter a competition with multinational corporations...

There is also evidence that many of the workers in Fair Trade companies don’t see improvements in their lives. According to a 2014 Harvard study, only skilled laborers and owners benefit from Fair Trade. Unskilled workers, who make up the vast majority of Fair Trade laborers and are the most impoverished, do not see any improvement.[3] Even for small farm owners Fair Trade can be problematic. A study in Nicaragua found that over a decade, Fair Trade farmers ended up poorer than their uncertified counterparts.[4] The Fair Trade system, especially with it’s recent spike in multinational members is doing little to help the members of Filipinosociety who are most in need.

On the one hand, certifications in general and Fair Trade specifically are not inherently negative. There is plenty to admire in the concept and many people have undoubtedly benefitted. For instance, there is evidence that certified co-ops can be helpful for increasing land ownership and economic freedom among the poor.[5] However, there are serious challenges inherent in certification programs and in many cases they can be ineffective or even harmful for certain groups. The multinationals filing into the Filipino Fair Trade market represent a serious concern for the most vulnerable Filipinos all while using a label that appears to protect the most downtrodden.

[1] Modelo, M. (2014) The Paradox of Fair Trade. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved from https://ssir.org/articles/entry/the_paradox_of_fair_trade[2] WTFO. (2011). WFTO Response to Fair Trade USA-FLO Split. Retrieved fromhttps://fairworldproject.org/in-the-news/wfto-response-to-fair-trade-usa-flo-split/[3] Dragusanu, R. & Nunn, N. (2014) The Impacts of Fair Trade Certification: Evidence From Coffee Producers in Costa Rica. Working Paper. Retrieved fromhttps://scholar.harvard.edu/files/nunn/files/draft_august_2013.pdf[4] Beuchelt, T. D. & Zeller, M. (2011). Profits and Poverty: Certification’s troubled linkfor Nicaragua’s organic and fairtrade coffee producers. Ecological Economics 70, 1316-1324. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=[5] Makita, R. & Tsuruta, T. (2017) Fair Trade and Organic Initiatives in Asian Agriculture: The Hidden Realities. London and New York: Routledge. 113-115.

The F-3 Fish Free Feed Challenge: Finding cost-effective fish-free feeds

Hanna Stoner November 07, 2017

Annually, since 2015, the F3 challenge takes place, which is a global competition with the goal of finding innovative fish free feeds. It is a challenge for aquafeed companies to produce and sell the most seafood-free aquaculture feed or be the first to reach 100,000 metric tons of seafood-free sales. Fish-based fish feeds are common throughout the world, but they are not sustainable (you can ready more about sustainable fish feeds in my ealier post here). Thus far companies from Australia, Austria, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, South Africa, Thailand and the U.S. have participated. This years winner was an organization from China, that created alternative feeds for tilapia and carp (Fletcher, 2017). The runner up was Htoo Thit Company, a company based in Myanmar. This comanpy creates plant-based feeds from some vegetable proteins. This organization has also created supplements for fish, they have created a supplement designed to prevent anutritional effects of mycotozins, which are procuded by fungi and contaminate crops (“BIOMIN Participates to Fish-Free Feed (F3) Challenge, 2017). Supplements like this provide solutions for some of the issues that fish free feeds may cause...

The F3 challenge encourages innovation, and is a great way to encourage the development of more sustainable fish feeds. Not only has this challenge encouraged innovation, but it also has helped the world to find cost-competitive solutions that are equally, if not more economically viable, than traditional fish-based fish feeds.This challenge has now extended to also finding fish free alternatives to fish oils.

This challenge will continue to take place, and will hopefully help to make fish-free feeds more available worldwide. Enhance a Village is working with local farmers in the Philippines to develop solutions to create more sustainable fisheries. To learn more you can click here, if you would like to become involved you can volunteer or donate.

Fletcher, R. (2017, November 01). Chinese firm wins Fish-Free Feed (F3) Challenge. Retrieved November 06, 2017, from https://thefishsite.com/articles/chinese-firm-wins-fish-free-feed-f3-challenge BIOMIN Participates to Fish-Free Feed (F3) Challenge. (2017, October 30). Retrieved November 06, 2017, from http://www.biomin.net/us/news/biomin-participates-to-fish-free-feed-f3-challenge/
Fish being fed plant based feeds
(no this is not what vegetarian fish food actually would look like! This is just someone feeding a shark a snack!)
Photo of a Moringa Tree

Finding Feeding Solutions for Fisheries

Hanna Stoner October 24, 2017

Due to the increasing population, and a need for new more efficient food sources, fisheries have become more popular in recent years. Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing forms of food production in the world, due to the high protein density of fish and low production costs. Unfortunately, as I discussed in a prior blog, many fish are carnivorous, and are often feed fishmeal which is made of smaller fish species. This has a plethora of negative environmental impacts, including depletion of wild fish and excessive waste. While there are many alternative options of fish feed, plant based diets are the most sustainable options. Switching fish to a plant based diet can also help to reduce contaminants in the fish, and make the fish healthier for human consumption (Fears, 2013).

One solution to this is to feed fish vegetable or plant based feeds. While most carnivorous fish are not adapted to eating a vegetarian diet, vegetarian feeds often can have added vitamins, minerals and enzymes so that the fish can digest the food, and get all of the nutrients they need.

Moringa and kikuyu meal has also been used to replace fishmeal. Moringa is a type of tree and kikuyu is a type of grass. Fish who ate the kikuyu diet actually had higher rates of growth than fish who were fed fishmeal. Fish who only ate moringa did not do as well, as fish who ate moringa as a supplement, instead of moringa as their sole source of food (Samkelisiwe, 2014). Regardless, these plants can be used as supplements, as well as the main source of food.

There are also other options such as using soybeans, barley or corn to feed fish, although these are not as sustainable, since farming these crops takes a lot of land. When cobia, a carnivorous fish species, were fed a combination of barley and soy protein they grew significantly larger, and absorbed less contaminants than they did when they were being fed fish meal (Fears, 2013). This is just one example of how switching to a plant based diet can help overall production in fisheries.

Some other more sustainable options include using agricultural waste as feed. There are also some fish feeds made from pistachios, which are a good alternative to fishmeal, because of their high protein content (Goldfarb, 2016).

While many of these options are more expensive currently, there are some low-cost solutions. Making the switch to feeding fish in fisheries vegetarian diets would ultimately save money, increase the quality of fish and help the environment. Educating fish farmers, and people whom live near fisheries about the positive impact that a vegetarian diet can have is one of the most important steps in making this change. Also ensuring that farmers have access to these vegetarian feeds is an important step. You can help make the change by volunteering or donating to Enhance a Village. Your donation or volunteering can help to make a positive impact in the Philippines, and in the world! To learn more about the organization click here...

Fears, D. (2013, August 11). Baltimore researchers turn some carnivorous fish into vegetarians. Retrieved October 20, 2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/baltimore-researchers-turn-carnivorous-fish-into-vegetarians/2013/08/11/46fc967e-0130-11e3-9711-3708310f6f4d_story.html?utm_term=.d06e81df7743%29Goldfarb Jan. 6, 2016 Print Share Subscribe Donate Now, B. (2016, January 06). High Country News. Retrieved October 20, 2017, from http://www.hcn.org/articles/can-vegetarian-feeds-make-aquaculture-palatableSamkelisiwe, H., & Ngonidzashe, M. (2014). Replacing Fishmeal with Kikuyu Grass and Moringa Leaves: Effects on Growth, Protein Digestibility, Histological and Haematological Parameters in Clarias gariepinus.Turkish Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences,14, 795-806. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
Solutions to environmental concerns of various aquaculture practicies

Sustainable Aquaculture

Hanna Stoner October 10, 2017

Aquaculture, is a term that broadly refers to the cultivation of aquatic plants or animals for food. While there are many unsustainable aspects of these practices, there are also more sustainable ways to conduct aquaculture.

Some of the largest environmental concerns stemming from aquaculture relate to the feeding practices of the fish. One of the largest steps that fisheries can take to be more sustainable is to work towards using plant based feeds, instead of meat based feeds (“Sustainable Agriculture”). This helps to prevent issues of overfishing for feeder fish and excess waste. Many of the fish produced in fisheries are used for feeding carnivorous fish in other fisheries, which requires a lot of resources (Moraes, 2012). Switching to a higher percentage of plant-based feed can eliminate some resource depletion.

An additional step aquaculturists can take, is to reduce the amount of antibiotics and pesticides that are used in their practices. Often these chemicals leach into adjoining waters, and causes issues for ecosystems. The overuse of antibiotics can also lead to antibiotic resistance, and destruction of necessary bacteria (Romero, 2012). This can be done by relying on more natural solutions, such as administering probiotics, essential oils and phage therapy (Romero, 2012).

Another concern with aquaculture, particularly in the Philippines, is destruction of marine ecosystems for the creation of fisheries. Often mangrove forests are destroyed for fisheries, which is extremely deleterious for local communities. This is because of the wide range of ecosystem services that mangroves offer including, protecting from natural disasters, filtering out toxins and proving important habitats for marine life. Habitat destruction ultimately hurts those whom live in the area, because it leads to major losses in the amount of fish, which resultantly limits the amount of income. By making sure that fisheries are placed in areas that are minimally impacting the environment, it helps everyone (“Sustainable Fisheries Management and Marine Conservation Oceana Philippines Policy Brief”). This can be done through regulation and creating marine protected areas and having strict enforcement of these protected areas. Educating communities about the importance of sustainable fisheries is also an important step in preventing illegal fisheries and exceedingly unsustainable practices.

You can help by donating or volunteering to Enhance a Village! We work to help eradicate poverty, through education, introducing new farming practices and increasing access resources in the Philippines, click here to learn more.

Moraes, G. B. (2012). Food as Feed: International and Private Regulation of Use of Forage Fish in Aquaculture. SSRN Electronic Journal. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2070192Jaime Romero, Carmen Gloria Feijoo and Paola Navarrete (2012). Antibiotics in Aquaculture – Use, Abuse and Alternatives, Health and Environment in Aquaculture, Dr. Edmir Carvalho (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-51-0497-1, InTech, Available from: http://www.intechopen.com/books/health-and-environment-in-aquaculture/antibiotics- in-aquaculture-use-abuse-and-alternatives-Sustainable aquaculture. (n.d.). Retrieved October 03, 2017, from http://www.seafdec.org.ph/sustainable-aquaculture/Sustainable Fisheries Management and Marine Conservation Oceana Philippines Policy Brief. (n.d.). Retrieved October 4, 2017, from http://ph.oceana.org/sites/default/files/oceana_fisheries_policy_brief.pdf

How fisheries can negatively impact local communities

Aquaculture in the Philippines (Part 2)

Hanna Stoner September 14, 2017

Aquaculture has the potential to both positively and negatively impact the surrounding communities. While there are apparent economic gains, especially in nations such as the Philippines, these gains are often short term in comparison to the lasting ecological damage.

Fisheries can very negatively impact aquatic ecosystems, since often the fish are genetically altered or bred for certain characteristics that are not advantageous for survival in the wild. These fish, if they do escape can very negatively impact the ecosystems, placing a pressure on the natural environment. This negatively impacts other wild fish, which in turn negatively impacts local communities because the availability of wild fish is limited ("The Republic of the Philippines").

On a much larger scale, when there are commercial fisheries in impoverished areas, often the local people are unable to afford the fish that are produced. This is because many of the fish are carnivorous, and the food they eat is very expensive, so the price of the farmed fish is increased. Often the feed for these fish is caught in local areas, reducing locals access to fish through conventional fishing methods. The fish from the fisheries often are then exported to other areas, so they do not benefit the local communities in any form. When these fisheries are illegal, it is even worse for the local community, since they usually serve no economic benefit to the community. What makes this even worse is when the illegal ponds are abandoned, then the communities are left with the ecological damage from the fisheries, and the community had no economic gain. This ecological damage can be devastating to coastal communities, since often the damage is destroyed mangroves (which can shield the land from various natural disasters).

Fisheries are also known to commit human rights violations, especially shrimp farms which are quite common in the Philippines. They often use child labor, and have been known to displace local people by taking their land through the usage of intimidation ("Aquaculture"). One example of this is when 1,000 homes were destroyed that were described as "urban poor family homes" for the creation of a fishery (Ratner, 2014). While not all fisheries commit these acts, it is important to recognize the threats that fisheries can pose to local people.

If you would like to help preserve marine habitats and protect people in the Philippines you can volunteer or donate to Enhance a Village.

Aquaculture. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://slowfood.com/slowfish/pagine/eng/pagina.lasso?-id_pg=44Ratner, B. D., Åsgård, B., & Allison, E. H. (2014). Fishing for justice: Human rights, development, and fisheries sector reform.Global Environmental Change,27, 120-130. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2014.05.006The Republic of the Philippines. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://www.fao.org/docrep/w8440e/W8440e18.htm

Aquaculture in the Philippines (Part 1)

Hanna Stoner September 12, 2017

The Philippines is known as one of the larger fish producing countries in the world, producing 3.1 million tons of aquatic animals in 2012 (F, 2015). Fisheries are a large part of the Filipino economy, the combined fishing industry contributes 1.8 percent annually to the countries GDP (based on info from 2012). While well controlled fisheries and aquaculture have the potential to help the country’s economy, and provide access to protein, there are some environmental concerns relating to fisheries.

One of the largest environmental issues the Philippines is facing is the destruction of mangrove forests and other marine habitats for the creation of fish ponds (for fisheries). Many of these fisheries are illegal, so often these illegal ponds are abandoned, leaving no economic benefit and a destroyed habitat. Many mangrove areas have been allowed, by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, to be developed into fisheries (Primavera, 1995). Since mangroves offer so many ecosystem services, thier destruction often leads to there being greater amounts of pollution (since the mangroves are no longer there to filter these pollutants). This greater pollution leads to fish being raised in polluted environments, which is not only negative for the fish, but also for the people who are ultimately ingesting the fish.

Another often forgotten concern, is water pollution caused by having such a large volume of animals in a small space. Animal waste, antibiotics and other by-products are dispelled into the surrounding waters, which can lead to an assortment of issues. One of these issues is nutrient pollution, which can lead to eutrophication, stimulating harmful algal growth. This algae in turn can lead to fish kills, which is extremely counterproductive. Fish whom have ingested the harmful algae are

While it is apparent that there is some initial economic gain from the fisheries, the construction of fisheries is very short sighted. Furthermore the fisheries often very adversely impact local communities, which you can read more about in my next blog!

If you would like to help prevent destruction of mangroves you help by volunteering or donating to Enhance a Village!

F. (2015). Part I Overview and main indicators. Retrieved September 12, 2017, from http://www.fao.org/fishery/facp/PHL/enPrimavera, J. H. (1995). Mangroves and brackishwater pond culture in the Philippines.Asia-Pacific Symposium on Mangrove Ecosystems,303-309. doi:10.1007/978-94-011-0289-6_34
How fisheries impact the environment.
Fish that have been attacked by sea lice

Aquaculture and the Environment

Hanna Stoner September 07, 2017

Aquaculture, also known as fish farming has been practiced for hundreds of years, as a solution to the increasing demands for fish as a result of the increasing human population. Initially commercial aquaculture was thought to be a solution to the issue of wild fish stocks diminishing. While fish farming seemingly offers a solution to the decline of wild fish, currently over 70% of the worlds fish stocks are over fished or fully exploited (Wolff, 2008). This decline/exploitation is in part due to aquaculture.

Aquaculture has its own set of very detrimental environmental impacts. One of the largest concerns pertaining to fish farming is, the crowing of fish in their contained environment. This crowding leads to water pollution. Fish wastes including, their excrement’s, uneaten food and dead fish ultimately end up in the surrounding waters (usually an ocean), polluting these water bodies. The pesticides, and medications that are given to the fish also ultimately end up in the surrounding water (Wolff, 2008). Due to the high volume of fish, often these medications and pesticides are very concentrated and can affect entire aquatic ecosystems. Environmental pollutants are one of the major hurdles that most marine ecosystems are facing.

Feeding the fish in the fisheries is also a large environmental concern. While some fish species are herbivores, the omnivores and carnivorous species must feed on other fish. This creates a need for feeder fish to be farmed, to feed the other fish. To create 2.2lbs of high protein fish meal, it takes 10lbs of smaller fish (Wolff, 2008). This creates an issue in terms of the space available for farming fish, as well as pollution. Approximately one-third of the fish caught globally is used for animal feed, which is a large increase from 1948 when only 7.7% was used for animal feed (Wolff, 2008)

One of the largest environmental impacts of fisheries is the habitat and ecosystem alterations that are made to accommodate fish farms. Mangrove forests have been destroyed to create various aquaculture farms. The destruction of the mangroves has a large impact on the environment, which you can read about in my prior post. This habitat and ecosystem disruption is not only bad for the environment, but it is also bad for communities near the fisheries. The communities loose and assortment of ecosystem services these habitats offer, protection from natural disasters and economic benefits.

Fisheries also pose threats to wild fish. Diseases from fish farms, such as sea lice, spread past the farms and are very damaging to the wild fish. Viral, bacterial and fungal diseases also have been known to spread to wild fish as a result of aquaculture (Wolff, 2008).

You can help prevent illegal fisheries by donating or volunteering with Enhance a Village! Your donation will help to preserve mangrove forests and support sustainable fishery practices.

Wolff, A. (2008, August 4). The Pros and Cons of Fish Farming. Retrieved September 07, 2017, from http://advocacy.britannica.com/blog/advocacy/2008/08/the-pros-and-cons-of-fish-farming/
How protecting mangroves can help mitigate and prevent further poverty from occurring

Protecting Mangroves Can Help End the Cycle of Poverty

Hanna Stoner September 01, 2017

Usually when people think of tress they do not think of their impact on human life. In the Philippines the mangroves offer not only a wide range of ecological value, but a lot of economic value (as I discussed in my earlier blog). A lot of people are unaware of these benefits, and cut them down for various reasons. Unfortunatly, a lot of the economic gain from destroying mangroves is short term, and not equivalent to the value of the unharmed mangroves. One of the largest threat to mangroves, man made fish ponds, are a prime example of this. These fish ponds are often illegal, so they are used for a short period of time and then are abandoned. Once the ponds are abandoned they are of no value, and adversely affect the surrounding area. When the mangroves are eliminated the areas have been found to have 25% less fish, this limits the ability of locals to fish in the area (Rath).

These fish ponds are ultimately a large disservice to the local communities because they lead to heightened conflict over coastal resources, increased income disparity and encourages poverty in local communities. This is because these fish ponds are often funded by investors that are only interested in short-term economic gain, and not the long term stability of the local coastal communities. These fish ponds also can lead to issues of property rights, since many coastal communities do not have clear written property rights, so the land can be “claimed” by the “owners” of the fish ponds. This can lead to increased poverty in these communities because they are no longer able to benefit from the fish in these areas, and because their land also can potentially be taken (Escober, 2006).

Also often the mangroves are cut down for fuel inside individuals homes. While this is advantageous because it offers fuel, it ultimately harms the homes inhabitants due to smoke inhalation.

On a larger scale, mangroves offer many services that are challenging to monetarily measure, such as their ability to mitigate the ill effects of climate change. Generally climate change impacts those in lower socio economic statuses at a disproportionately large rate when compared to their wealthier counterparts. Since mangroves have such a large capability for carbon sequestration, their removal will ultimately lead to more carbon in the atmosphere, which resultantly leads to climate change.

By protecting mangroves you can help to end the cycle of poverty! You can help us to end the cycle of poverty by volunteering or donating to Enhance a Village.

Escober, J. E. (2006). Https://dlc.dlib.indiana.edu/dlc/bitstream/handle/10535/816/Escober_Jaime_Aquaculture.pdf?sequence=1. Retrieved August 29, 2017, from https://dlc.dlib.indiana.edu/dlc/bitstream/handle/10535/816/Escober_Jaime_Aquaculture.pdf?sequence=1Rath, A. B. (n.d.). Mangrove importance. Retrieved August 22, 2017, from http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/blue_planet/coasts/mangroves/mangrove_importance
Discussion of some of the threats to mangroves in the Philippines, and how to help.

Threats to Mangroves in the Philippines

Hanna Stoner August 28, 2017

The Philippines were once home to over 400,000 hectares of mangroves, but in 1994 it declined to under 120,000 hectares (Garcia et al, 2013). Now in 2017, the coverage has even further decreased, with over 50% of the mangroves being lost. Why would this happen, considering the wide range of economic and ecological benefits that mangroves offer? There are a few key issues, but the majority of the problems can be attributed to human behavior. Some of the largest issues include forests being converted to agricultural land, industry, pollution and deforestation. In the Philippines, the largest threat to mangrove forests are the creation of fishponds for commercial fishing and shrimp farming. (“Rehabilitating Mangroves in the Philippines” ).

While the initial economic gain from converting these areas into aquaculture, agricultural land and industrial areas is seemingly large, mangroves actually offer over $1.5 billion (USD) of ecosystem services (“Rehabilitating Mangroves in the Philippines”). These services include but are not limited to coastal protection, climate stabilization, carbon storage, source of food and tourism. Often after these fishponds are created they are left abandoned, and the mangrove forests are left destroyed. This doesn’t make sense, since there are more sustainable farming options, and destroying the mangrove forests often offer no long-term gain. This is one of the many ways that education can help to prevent such serious losses. Teaching people the value of mangroves, as well as sustainable farming practices can help to prevent these losses from occurring...

Much of the destruction that occurs is due to illegal harvesting of mangroves or illicit creation of fish ponds. This illegal activity is frequently due to individuals not having legitimate avenues for economic success, education could help resolve this issue. More strictly enforced protection of the mangroves also could help to eliminate this illegal activity. You can help by volunteering or donating to Enhance a Village! You can read more about how our organization can help end the cycle of poverty in my next blog post.

Garcia, Kristine & Gevaña, Dixon & Malabrigo, Pastor. (2013). Philippines' Mangrove Ecosystem: Status, Threats, and Conservation. Mangrove Ecosystems of Asia: Status, Challenges and Management Strategies. 81-94. 10.1007/978-1-4614-8582-7_5.Rehabilitating Mangroves in the Philippines. (n.d.). Retrieved August 24, 2017, from https://www.zsl.org/conservation/regions/asia/rehabilitating-mangroves-in-the-philippines
Photo by The Maritime Review

Ecological Value of Mangroves in the Philippines

Hanna S August 22, 2017

How mangroves are ecologically valuable, threats they are facing and how you can help!

Currently mangroves are one of the most threatened ecosystems worldwide. Mangrove forests are extremely important in coastal ecosystems, due to their plethora of ecological services. One of the largest services they offer is the stabilization of the coast line. The presence of mangrove forests can reduce erosion from storm surges, waves, tides, currents, UV-B radiation and other natural disasters. This is because the forests block the land from these deleterious events. This is particularly important in island nations such as the Philippines, where threats of sea level rise are eminent. Fortunately mangroves are some of the most carbon-rich forests in the tropics (Kathiresan, 2012). They remove CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, and are though to help reduce the accumulation of greenhouse gasses, which are thought to contribute to climate change. Climate change poses a large threat to the Philippines, where they are already facing rising sea levels, at a rate of over 14mm annually (Kathiresan, 2012). This is one of the many reasons it is important to preserve mangrove forests.

Another unique ecological benefit of mangroves is that their complex root system slows the movement of tidal waters, which reduces the amount of suspended solids in the water. The slowing of tidal movement causes the sediments to settle out of the water and build up on the muddy bottom, acting as a nutrient sink. The root systems allow for the nutrient layer to stay firm and provides a source of food, breeding grounds and nurseries for many aquatic organisms such as fish, crab shrimp and mollusk. In coastal areas, such as the Philippines the economy largely relies upon fishing, without these habitats there will be a decline in fish. Studies have found that there are up to 25 times more fish on reefs close to mangroves, than on reefs where mangroves have been cut down (Rath)...

It has also been found that mangroves have the ability to filter and absorb organic wastes. Mangroves have a high capacity for both absorbing and holding heavy metals, and have been attributed to preventing the spread of heavy metal pollution in coastal areas (“Mangroves: A filter for heavy metals”). While this is not necessarily beneficial for the mangroves themselves, it is very beneficial to the surrounding area. Without the mangroves this pollution would spread, which would be deleterious to the surrounding environment as well as nearby humans.

The Philippines are thought to be one of the 17 mega biodiversity countries in the world due to the nations geographic isolation and diverse habitats. In relation to mangroves, the Philippines are home to over 50% of the worlds mangrove species. Unfortunately due to a combination of human activities and natural disturbances the country is loosing its mangroves and resultantly decreasing in biodiversity. Some of the largest threats to mangroves in the Philippines involve humans converting mangrove forests to fish ponds, ultimately leading to natural disasters such as typhoons and sea level rise (“Issues and Threats”).

You can help stop this devastation by volunteering or donating to Enhance a Village. With your help we can help restore the already occurring destruction, and prevent further ecological damage!

“Issues and Threats.” Philippine Mangroves: Biodiversity, Conservation and Management, 2 Apr. 2015, mangroveecology.com/ph-mangroves/issues-and-threats/. Accessed 22 Aug. 2017.Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD). (2012, July 24). Mangroves: A filter for heavy metals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120724104304.htmKathiresan, K. (2012). Importance of Mangrove Ecosystem. International Journal of Marine Science, 2(10), 70-89. Retrieved August 22, 2017.

The Mighty Mangrove

Hanna S August 22, 2017

How Mangroves are able to survive in harsh conditions and other interesting tidbits

If you have ever been to a tropical beach you have probably noticed the odd looking trees with roots above the water. These unique plants are called mangroves. Mangroves are shrub and tree species that live along the shore of various waterbodies, primarily in tropical and subtropical regions. These plants are extremely tough, they are able to grow in conditions that most plants are unable to survive. Most of them live in muddy soil, but some grow on coral rock, sand, peat and rock. All of them grow in areas with low-oxygen soil. Due to their habitat they are subject to ocean storms and hurricanes. They also are able to live in water that is up to 100 time saltier than what other plants are able to tolerate. Even further demonstrating their toughness, they are able to survive ocean flooding up to twice a day! Most trees would drown in this situation, but mangroves are able to survive.

There are over 80 known species of mangroves, and 60 of them live exclusively on coasts between the high and low tide zone. The highest diversity of mangroves was once in Southeast Asia (“What’s a Mangrove?”). Within a mangrove forest, different species occupy different niches (a niche refers to the place or function of a given organism within its ecosystem). For example some mangroves are able to better handle being covered with saltwater, these live in the open seas. Other mangroves are better suited to live near riverbanks, and some are adapted to saltier more dry soil live by the shoreline...

After reading this one may wonder how mangroves can survive in these conditions-this survival can be attributed to their unique environmental adaptations. They are able to deal with saltwater by extracting freshwater from their surrounding saltwater. They filter out seawater as it enters their roots, and some excrete salt through the glands in their leaves or bark. This causes for these mangroves to sometimes have a layer of brine on their leaves. Other mangroves will concentrate the salt in older leaves or bark, so when these leaves fall they also are able to release the salt (“What’s a Mangrove”).

Mangroves also have the ability to store freshwater, much like desert pants. Mangroves have thick leaves, many of which have a waxy coating, which is able to seal in water and limit evaporation. Other species have small hairs covering their leaves designed to shield against wind and sunlight. Shielding against the elements reduces the amount of water that is lost through the microscopic openings in the leaves used for photosynthesis (Kathiresan,2012). Some mangroves even have these small openings below the surface, to limit drying from the elements (Kathiresan, 2012).

One of the Mangrove plants most visible environmental adaptation is their roots. Mangroves often have root systems that arch over the water, these are called aerial roots. Aerial roots broaden the base of the tree which stabilizes the root system in the soft soil below. These aerial roots also help with respiration. Mangroves get oxygen through lenticels, which are cell-sized breathing pores in the barks and roots. Lenticels close during high tide, which prevents mangroves from drowning during high tide or when otherwise submerged in water. Many species also often have Pneumatophores, which are roots that stick out of the ground like snorkels. Pneumatophores take in oxygen, as long as they are no clogged or submerged for extended periods (Kathiresan, 2012).

Lastly, mangroves have a unique way of reproducing, the seed pods germinate while on the tree, so they are ready to root when they drop. This allows for the seed to root immediately if it falls during low tide. If the seed falls during high tide it can float until it finds solid ground. These seeds may grow up to two feet in one year, and will grow arching roots to anchor the seed to the ground (“What’s a Mangrove?”).

Mangroves are incredibly important parts of the ecosystem, and it is important to take the steps necessary to conserve Mangrove forests. This can be done by volunteering or donating to Enhance a Village! Your donation can help to save Mangrove forests, and help conservation efforts worldwide.

Kathiresan, K. (2012). Importance of Mangrove Ecosystem. International Journal of Marine Science, 2(10), 70-89. Retrieved August 22, 2017.What's a Mangrove? And How Does It Work? (n.d.). Retrieved August 21, 2017, from http://www.amnh.org/explore/science-bulletins/bio/documentaries/mangroves-the-roots-of-the-sea/what-s-a-mangrove-and-how-does-it-work/
Photo Credit to TKO Farms

Soursop and Coconut Intercropping

Dr. Nupur Srivastava July 07, 2017

Soursop or Guyabano (scientific name: Annona muricata) comes from the Graviola tree that grows in warm tropical countries such as South America, parts of Africa and Asian countries as Philippines. The plant is characterized as a long prickly, green fruit, is a shrub or small tree 3-10 meters in height. It is adapted to warm, humid tropical climate, and can tolerate both drought conditions and partial shade. Guyabano is generally grown as a backyard crop. The area devoted to it averaged 3,0816.6 hectares from 1980 to 1985. Western Visayas had the biggest hectare (740), followed by Central Luzon (518). The average Philippines production during the same period was 3.31 tons per hectare. Average total production per year was 10,200 tons worth about 8.6 million pesos.

The flesh of the fruit consists of white pulps, some fiber, and a core of indigestible, black seeds. The white edible pulp is high in carbohydrates and considerable amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, potassium, and dietary fiber. Guyabano is low in cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium. In many countries, soursops are believed to have medicinal properties as well. The species has been reported to contain alkaloids anonaine and anoniing which are higher in seeds. The bark, leaves and seeds also have muricine and muncinine. The fruit, seeds, and leaves have a number of herbal medicinal uses among indigenous peoples of regions where the plant is common.

It is adapted to warm, humid tropical climate, and can tolerate both drought conditions and partial shade. Because of its many economic uses and great demand in processing industry especially in producing guyabano drinks, expansion and more production should encourage to meet its demand. Consequently, the crop is now gaining its prospect in the world market. The tree was introduced into the Philippines via trade routes from Mexico by way of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade.

To maximize utilization of the land and help suppress the growth of weeds, annual crops such as cereals, pulses, root and tuber crops and vegetables may be grown between the soursop trees while still young. The perennials that may be intercropped with guayabano are banana, coffee, cacao, black pepper, mulberry and/or citrus. Because the tree is small and tolerant of partial shade, it can be intercropped with coconut or with large fruit trees like mango, durian, avocado and jackfruit.

medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPS)
Photo Credit to Issuewire
Photo Credit to wikipedia

Augmenting Income Via Intercropping Coconut-Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

Dr. Nupur Srivastava April 10, 2017

Medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) are looked upon not only as a source of affordable health care products but also as a source of income. There is a growing demand for plant based medicines, health products, essential oils, fragrances, cosmetics and natural aroma chemicals in the national and international markets. Several reports highlighted the global importance of MAPs due to huge volume of trade at national and international levels (Kuipers, 1997; ICMAP, 2003). The Task Force report indicated that international market for medicinal plants is over US$ 60 billion per year and herbal drug market continues to grow at the rate of 7–30% annually (GOI, 2000). As per the estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO), the global market for plant based medicine will hit 5 trillion US$ mark by the year 2050. The world essential oil production at raw material level is estimated at around $10 billion annually. There has been significant increase in production and trade of essential oils and aroma chemicals over last two decades. Cultivation of MAPs has several advantages like higher net returns per unit area, low incidence of pests and diseases, improvement of degraded and marginal soils, longer shelf life of end products and foreign exchange earning potential (GOI, 2000; Rao et al., 2000, 2004). However, lack of standardized cultivation aspects, supply of good quality planting material and marketing facilities are identified as major limitations in cultivation of MAPs (Rao et al., 2004)...

Growing of intercrops in coconut lands produces more food and agricultural products, ensuring food security of the people in rural and urban areas. At the same time, the practice generates jobs and livelihood, enhancing farm incomes and the purchasing power of people, thus alleviating poverty in farming communities (Magat 2004). The details of coconut intercropping, it’s advantages-disadvantages can be studied in the previous article at Enhance a Village, Inc. Farm income and productivity could still be further enhanced with the adoption of practical and profitable intercropping practices such as the following:

1) coconut + cereal (maize) intercropping

2) coconut + fruit crop (banana) intercropping

3) coconut multi-storey cropping coconut + papaya + pineapple + peanut (Figure 1)

4) coconut + root crops intercropping and

5) coconut + coffee intercropping

Of the coconut + intercrop (s) farming systems, some systems are capable of generating average annual net incomes of PhP 85,000 (US$1745.4) to PhP132,400 (US$2,719) per ha, with banana, coffee intercrops and multi-storey [coconut+ papaya, pineapple and peanut (groundnut)], in 3-4 years cropping cycle, respectively. With cocoa-coconut intercropping system the projected total annual net income gained per ha in a 5-year time scale are the following: year 1, PhP9,426 (negative income); year 2, @ 36,232; YEAR 3, @ 69.030; YEAR 4 , @ 93,541; and year 5 and onwards, @ PhP 116,161.

A presentation about the approaches and future plans of coconut-medicinal and aromatic plants intercropping, mostly in Philippines can be found here.

Intercropping of medicinal plants in coconut (Cocos nucifera) and arecanut (Areca catechu) stands is an age-old practice in India and other parts of south- and southeast Asia. These palms allow 30% to 50% of incident light to the underneath, which is ideal for some MAPs, including cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum). Kacholam or galang (Kaempferia galanga) – a medicinal herb – is traditionally intercropped in mature coconut gardens in Kerala, India. Kacholam intercropped in a 30 year-old coconut plantation produced 6.1 Mg ha−1 of rhizomes compared with 4.8 Mg ha−1 as a sole crop (Maheswarappa et al. 1998). Twelve year old coconut trees did not adversely affect the growth and yields of a number of medicinal species grown as intercrops compared to the yields in the open (Nair et al. 1989). In Karnataka and Kerala states, India, arecanut palm is commonly intercropped with ginger, turmeric, black pepper (Piper nigrum) and cardamom (Korikanthimath and Hegde 1994). Some of these intercrops may cause small reduction in arecanut yields but the combined returns from both the components are greater than from arecanut alone (Sujatha S. et al. 2011). A field study (Basavaraju et al. 2011) was conducted at Horticulture Research Station, Arsikere, Karnataka during 2006-07 to 2008-09 to identify suitable medicinal and aromatic plants for intercropping in coconut gardens of maidan tract of Karnataka. The yield of all the medicinal and aromatic crops grown as intercrop in coconut garden were reduced compared to their sole crop yields. The nut yield of coconut was improved with intercropping of medicinal and aromatic crops.

As there are limited studies on coconut-MAPs intercropping cultivation methods and practices in Kuyayao, Philippines, we at Enhance a Village, Inc. are focusing on evaluating the productivity of both coconut and MAPs as intercrops for augmenting the income of coconut farmers. It is very important to apply the best package of technologies or better still, the site-specific technologies to achieve the maximum economic yield, highly desirable to obtain the least production cost per unit product or per ha, and the maximum returns to investment under the coconut-MAPs cropping production system.

The next article would be on researching about the MAPs which are most suitable to grow in Philippines soil and climatic conditions, and what farming methods would be most appropriate to increase the economic yield of the coconut-MAPs intercrops.

References:1. Kuipers SE (1997) Trade in medicinal plants. In: Bodeker, G., Bhat, K.K.S., Burley, J., Vantomme, P. (Eds.), Medicinal Plants for Forest Conservation and Healthcare, Non-Wood Forest Products, vol. 11. FAO, Rome, pp. 45–59.2. ICMAP (2003) Resolutions of International Council for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. In: Third World Congress on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants for Human Welfare-WOCMAP III, 03–07 February 2003, Chiang Mai, Thailand.3. GOI (2000) Report of the Taskforce on Medicinal Plants in India. Planning Commission, Government of India, Yojana Bhawan, New Delhi, India.4. Rao EVSP, Puttanna K, Rao RSG, Kumar S (2000) Prospect of Commercial mediculture and recent advances in agrotechnologies of aromatic plants in South India. J. Medicinal Arom. Plant Sci. 22 (1B), 207–213.5. Rao MR, Palada MC, Becker BN (2004) Medicinal and aromatic plants in agroforestry systems. Agroforest. Syst. 61, 107–122.6. Magat SS (2004) Growing of Intercrops in coconut lands to generate more food and agricultutral products, jobs and enhancing farm income. Coconut Intercropping Primer. Published by PCA-Diliman, Quezon City.Dec.2004. 7p.7. Sujata S, Ravi Bhat Kannan C, and Balasimha D. (2011). Impact of intercropping of medicinal and aromatic plants with organic farming approach on resource use efficiency in arecanut (Areca catechu L.) plantation in India. Industrial Crops and Products, 33: 78-83.8. Basavaraju TB, Nanjappa HV, Umesha K, Vasundhara M, Arulraj S (2011) Intercropping of medicinal and aromatic plants in coconut gardens. http://agris.fao.org/agris-search/search.do?recordID=IN2011001074
Photo Credit to Sunstar

Sustainable Coconut Intercrops: A Solace to the Farmers

Dr. Nupur Srivastava February 06, 2017

Intercropping is growing two or more crops in the same piece of land simultaneously which is also widely practiced by farmers, especially in the tropics. It is an advanced agro-technique and is considered to be an effective and potential mean of increasing crop production per unit area and time, particularly for farmers with small holdings (Ginigaddara et al. 2016). The main concept of intercropping is to increase productivity and reliability of production. Moreover, intercropping gives a greater stability of yield over monocropping (Pathick and Malla 1979). Besides, it ensures greater resource use efficiency (Reddy and Willey 1981). Growing of intercrops in coconut lands produces more food and agricultural products, ensuring food security of the people in rural and urban areas. At the same time, the practice generates jobs and livelihood, enhancing farm incomes and the purchasing power of people, thus alleviating poverty in farming communities (Magat 2004). Moreover, successful farmers serve as inspiration and enterprise leaders in their communities, eventually treating coconut farming in an agribusiness way to create wealth and more capital resources. Mono-cropping coconuts provides very low incomes for upland farmers even with an optimum planting density. However, there is a large area of land beneath the canopy of coconut plantations available for the farmer to use. Weeds growing beneath the palms compete for moisture and nutrients and decrease yields. Diversifying the farming system by intercropping cash crops, such as cacao, coffee, banana, pineapple etc. and changing to multi-storied cropping systems, can generate much higher returns, lessening the burden of the coconut farmer by giving alternative sources of income.

Intercrops may be selected based on the climatic requirement of the intercrop, irrigation facilities and soil type. The canopy size, age and spacing of the coconut are also to be considered. Market suitability should be taken into consideration before selecting an intercrop. One general rule in intercropping is to arrange to rows of intercrop in a way that these receive maximum sunlight throughout the day. Intercrops must be selected so as not to compete with sunlight, water and nutrient. Tree, root canopy must carefully be calculated so as not to cover other intercrop...

For example, Cacao, a popular, stable and marketable long-term beverage crop is widely planted under and between stands of coconut trees.To be a compatible and productive intercrop, cacao tree is best planted not closer than 2 meters from the base of coconut trees, at 3 m between hills and 3 m between rows. Furthermore, where there is limited land for cacao monocropping, the inter-spaces of coconut lands (with 8-15 meters of spacing of coconut palms) are amenable for several rows of cacao crop. Also important,the bio-physical environmental conditions, soil-wise, sunlight-wise and micro-climate variation within the 70-80% space between coconut trees in a farm has been known to be highly suitable for a coconut-cacao ecosystem (Figure 1).

Figure 1. A farm layout of coconut-cocoa cropping model under square (left) and triangular (right) planting system of coconut 8-10 m.

Very important: The details of the spacing, alignment, soil coditions, amount of fertilizers and various conditions of coconut intercropping can be found at Coconut Intercropping Technical Reports.

Figure 2. Schematic representation of horizontal root distribution of a multiple intercropping system with coconut (Nelliat et al. 1974)

There are five ways of intercropping:

1. Mixed intercropping – simultaneous growing of two or more crop species in an irregular arrangement, i.e. without a well-defined planting pattern.

2. Row intercropping – simultaneous growing of two or more crop species in a well-defined row arrangement.

3. Strip intercropping – simultaneous growing of two or more crop species in a strip wide enough to allow independent cultivation, but at the same time, sufficiently narrow to induce crop interactions.

4. Relay intercropping – planting one or two crops within an established cropping pattern wherein the final stage of the first crop coincides with the initial development of the other crops.

5. Multi-storey cropping – coconut + black pepper + cacao + pineapple are planted so that each crop produces canopies at different heights.

Best crops for coconut intecropping are tuber crops, fruit crops, rhizomes, cereals, pulses and vegetables:

a) Pepper vines on palm basins can grow and yield more.

b) Cocoa could be grown as a perennial secondary crop.

c) Areca palms could be intercropped.

d) Banana and/or tapioca could be planted as an annual crop.

e) similarly colocasia, amorphophallus, yams could be grown.

f) if there is still space and sunlight vegetables like cow pea, amaranthus red could be grown, and

g) in some plantations they intercrop orchids too.

Some advantages and disadvantages of intercropping coconuts:



a) Increased and diversified farm income.

b) Reduced dependence upon coconut products with unstable market prices.

c) Improved growth and yields of coconut palms and ease in finding the fallen nuts due to management of intercrop through weed control, use of fertilizers, etc.

d) Intercropped plants such as bananas and pineapples provide income in the short-term, as it takes young palms six or seven years to produce economic yields.

e) Better use of good quality land located close to settlements.

f) Canopy lowers air temperatures by 4–6°C lower and gives higher air relative humidity. These reduce evaporation from the soil and lower crop transpiration ­­­­­­­­rates maintaining higher level of soil water availability for intercrops.


a) Competition between intercrops and coconut, for water or plant nutrients.

b) Intercrops may incur losses to farmer if planted where light is insufficient.

c) Intercrops may harbour diseases or attract pests harmful to coconuts.

d) Fertilisers needed for intercropping may not be affordable.

e) Tillage for intercrops may damage shallow-rooted palms reducing copra yields.

f) The growth habit of some intercrops may cause difficulty in harvesting coconuts.

g) Intercropping demands a higher level of skill from the farmer.


There would be a need for the development of an efficient extension service in order to make coconut intercropping system more productive, economical, adoptable and successful. The agronomic requirements of individual crops when they are grown as intercrops need to be standardized. The proper management and operation of the intercropping farming methods would require a contribution by the people and the government funds. This method of agriculture will help to maximize land productivity in a natural and sustainable way.

Let us stand and contribute together in enhancing a village!

References1. Ginigaddara G.A.S., Fernando A.P.S. and Wijethunga P.M.A.P.K. (2016) Technical feasibility of coconut (Cocos nucifera) cashew (Anacardium occidentale) intercropping system in Puttalam district, Sri Lanka. Int. J. Ad. Sci. Res.2. Pathick D. C. and Malla M. L. Study on the performance of crop legume under monoculture and intercrop combination. Sixth Annual Maize Development Workshop, 23 May 1979, Nepal3. Reddy M.S and Willey R.W. (1981) Growth and resource use studies in an intercrop of pearl millet/groundnut. Field Crops Research,4. pp. 13-24. ISSN 0378-4290.4. Magat S.S. (2004) Growing of Intercrops in coconut lands to generate more food and agricultutral products, jobs and enhancing farm income. Coconut Intercropping Primer. Published by PCA-Diliman, Quezon City.Dec.2004. 7p.5. Nelliat E.V., Bavappa K.V., Nair P.V.R. (1974) Multi-storied cropping, a new dimension inmultiple cropping for coconut plantations. World Crops 26(6), 262–266.
Photo Credit to Balcony Garden Web
Problems and Solutions in coconut industry
Table 1. Nomenclature and Description of Some Selected Coconut Varieties.

Coconut Hybrids: An Elixir of Life

Dr. Nupur Srivastava January 22, 2017


Coconut hybrids: An elixir of life

Coconut trees generally are of two types, dwarf and tall varieties. Traditionally farmers used to grow tall varieties which are hardy and yields medium to big size nuts of reasonable quantity ranging from 40 nuts to 120 nuts in a single tree per year and grows to the height of over 60 feet. Coconuts from tall variety trees are good use as mature coconuts and for copra. Whereas the dwarf variety is very delicate and requires greater management care but is capable of yielding around 150 nuts per tree per year with alternate bearing trend. Coconut from dwarf variety trees is generally good with tender coconut water but not capable of giving good copra content.

Names of varieties of coconut trees are the following:

  • Solomon Islands Tall

  • Rennel Island Tall

  • Malaysian Tall

  • Malaysian Dwarf

  • Fiji Dwarf

Over the years, research institutes have been developing different new combination of coconut trees by bringing together the genetics of dwarf and tall verities. This process is called hybridization. The process for producing coconut hybrids is quite simple but very labor intensive. The key operation is emasculation i.e. manually picking off the male flowers to prevent self-pollination. Botanically speaking, the coconut is monoecious. The pistils (female) and stamens (male) organs are borne on separate flowers on the same plant. However, because the male flowers are very numerous and are produced all year round, emasculation although easy to do is very time consuming. After the male flowers are plucked out, the female buttons are allowed to develop and be naturally pollinated with pollen of nearby tall coconut trees by wind and by insects. In order to improve seed setting, pollen grains can be collected from nearby tall palms and pollen grains from desirable male parents provided by Philippines Coconut Authority (PCA) can be manually dusted on the stigmas of receptive female buttons. This hybrid coconut from the mother palm is placed in the nursery beds and the seedlings germinated from these nuts are selected to ensure that they are hybrids and supplied for farmers use. The details of the hybridization technique can be found at .

horticulture farming


Why is the hybridization technique so important for coconut-based farming systems in Philippines?

Of the 3.5 million hectares planted to coconuts, about 30% are over 60 years old and are described by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) as senescent, unproductive and due for replanting. Coconut farmers are poor primarily because of two circumstances: 1) The primary productivity of the coconut palm is low, and 2) 80% of coconut farms are mono- cropped i.e. they depend almost entirely on copra for their income. Not until these two fundamental shortcomings are addressed, coconut farmers and the Philippine coconut industry face an uncertain future. With little to look forward in terms of income, coconut farmers allow their trees to go senile, cut down the coconut trees; generate instant cash from coco lumber, and replace the coconut with more profitable tree crops like coffee, cacao, bananas, citrus, pineapple, papaya and many other fruit crops and other high value vegetables and ornamentals. But that need not be the future scenario for the Philippine rural economy. With the rising sea levels due to global warming, the saline coastal areas in Philippines are expected to further increase and other than coconut nothing grows better. Besides Philippine beaches will lose their allure to tourists without majestic coconut palms framing the horizon. However, there is a better scenario in terms of profitability, equity and ecological sustainability: replanting with high yielding coconut hybrids and intercropping with other high value crops would be agronomically feasible and the farmers can be assured of a market for the produce. Hybrid coconut seedlings have been in demand, particularly the tall x dwarf crossing variety. Cultivating the hybrid varieties requires less manpower and is a boon to the farmers. “Climbing tall coconut trees to pluck coconuts is an impossible task nowadays owing to the lack of adequate climbers. While the normal trees take seven to eight years for flowering, the cross varieties start bearing flowers in four years. This is a huge advantage to the farmers”, an official said http://ucap.org.ph/news-and-events/good-demand-for-hybrid-coconut-seedlings. In coconut cultivation, farmers should take special care in selecting appropriate coconut hybrids that are ideally suited to the agro-climatic conditions of their area in general. Description of some studied coconut varieties are indicated in Table 1.

Why hybrid coconut farming?

The coconut industry is the source of income of about 3.5 million farmers, providing economic support to the rural communities in Philippines.

Problems and Solutions in coconut industry (see image on the left)

Table 1. Nomenclature and Description of Some Selected Coconut Varieties. (see image on the left)

Measures considered to improve and maintain the hybrid production of coconut plants

In order to reduce cost of transport of hybrid seed nuts and to insure from catastrophic losses from typhoons and other disasters, the 250 small hybrid seed producers should be strategically dispersed in the major coconut growing areas in Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Eastern Visayas and the six regions of Mindanao, in Philippines. The PCA stations in Zamboanga, Davao, Bohol, and Aurora at best can produce a million hybrid seedlings each year, good for 10,000 hectares per year. At this rate of hybrid availability, it will take approximately 100 years just to replant the current estimated one million hectares of senescent (overaged) coconuts. More problematic at this time is the institutional capability of PCA to field the technical people who will closely supervise the farmer – cooperators to make sure 1) The farmers diligently manually pick off the male flowers to prevent self – pollination, and 2) The farmers dust the male pollen supplied by PCA on the female flowers at the right time (usually mid–morning) to attain very high fruit setting. The obvious solution is to mobilize the small coconut farmers themselves and interested corporate investors to specialize in commercial coconut hybrid seed production...

In the Cocolink International Coconut Conference organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Davao Region Coconut Industry Cluster, Inc. and held at SMX, Davao City in July 2016, a unique paper discussed the emerging expansion of the cultivation of hybrid coconut in India, supported largely by private companies like Deejay Coconut Breeding Farm, with 200 ha. The Deejay Coconut Breeding Farm produces hybrids by crossing the Malayan yellow dwarf and a tall Indian variety. In the process, the farm produces and makes available for sale to Indian farmers two million ready-to-plant hybrid coconut seedlings per year.


A new improved Tall x Tall hybrid variety released in India

An evaluation trial conducted over 30 years on coconut hybrid combinations has resulted in identification of a superior, high yielding Tall x Tall hybrid, released as VPM 5 involving Laccadive Ordinary Tall as female parent and Cochin China as male parent in Tamil Nadu Agricultural University – Coconut Research Station, Veppankulam (TNAU), Tamil Nadu, India. This hybrid is better performing over other hybrids and local check with higher nut yield (161 nuts palm-1year-1), higher copra out turn of 24.1 kg palm-1 year-1 and 4.2 t ha-1 year-1 with an estimated oil recovery of 2.90 t ha-1 under irrigated conditions of Tamil Nadu. The hybrid took on an average of 45 months for initiation of first flowering, possess good tender nut water quality (TSS 5.5° Brix) and with 300 ml of tender nut water. The hybrid recorded 44 percent more nut yield, 48 percent more copra yield and 48.2 percent more oil yield over the released Tall x Dwarf hybrid ‘VHC 1’. The seedlings of the hybrid are more vigorous, producing higher number of leaves within 12 months, having higher leaf area and dry weight indicating precocity in growth and development. The flowering, morphological and fruit component traits of the hybrid were compared with parental palms are found superior. Tall x Tall hybrids also exhibited heterozygotic vigour for nut yield and copra yield as that of Tall x Dwarf and Dwarf x Tall hybrids. and Natarajan et al. [5] Maliwan Pattanapruk et al. [6] reported better performance of Tall x Tall hybrids https://medwinpublishers.com/OAJAR/OAJAR16000106.pdf.

Hybrid coconut trees starts yielding at very early stage say from third year of planting and grows in height very slow compared to tall trees but little higher than dwarf trees. Generally hybrid coconut trees grows to the height of between 20 to 25 feet in twenty years depending on whether the tree is used for tender coconut harvest or mature coconut harvest. Hybrid variety coconut trees are gaining more popularity in the recent years due to ease of harvesting from low height and for good productivity year on year. Coconut hybrid farming will further maximize farm productivity when combined with proper fertilization, irrigation, and pest control methods as well as various on farm enhancement schemes and marketing.

Does hybrid coconut seedlings yield better produce, what do you say?

Do you want to be a part of this ongoing discussion at Enhance a Village and contribute towards creating a great cause towards mankind?

See Related Topic:

The Benefits of Coconut Oil

Why Coconut Oil is Healthy

Seven Benefits of Coconut Oil

How Virgin Coconut Oil Can Care For Your Body

Photo Credit to Fundraising Directory

6 Easy Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofit Organizations

January 01, 2017

Running a nonprofit organization (NPO) is a challenging, yet fulfilling responsibility. A noble deed in being a blessing to others with even limited resources at hand. Most NPOs regularly conduct activities that would make their beneficiaries gain knowledge, livelihood, and most especially recreation after a series of hard work.

However, not all NPOs can easily push through a certain activity because of their lack of funds. Unlike government organizations that have regular funding from the local government units they are under, NPOs need to work and search hard for bringing material, physical, psychosocial, and financial aids into their organization to make it operate smoothly. But the main dilemma NPOs usually encounter lies in the question: Where can we get funds?

Raising funds entails a lot of work, but no one ever said it will be impossible. Here are 6 easy and doable fundraising ideas you can do to get that activity into place...

Get a Reliable, Generous Philanthropist

It’s not like you will be asking for alms to get sponsorship for your organization. Even though at these times when you think getting a sponsor is hard, there are still kind-hearted people who will always be opening their arms to help and ensuring that all the organization’s efforts to deliver assistance will be put to reality. This just needs a little patience, perseverance, and a good sense of persuasion to make these sponsors see the light in what your organization can and aims to do.

Bargain Sale

Everybody loves bargain sales! Gather everything that’s slightly used to brand new in your closet, plus those from the others who would want to donate stuff they don’t use anymore to start up a grand bargain sale. In this small, easy gesture, you get to earn money as the organization’s funds without really spending a fortune. This can also be a way to gain more volunteers, members, and even potential sponsors from the buyers.

Food to Funds Activity (such as Dinner for a Cause)

Food-to-Funds means in exchange for deliciously prepared meals, donors, customers and participants will offer money. Nowadays, ready-packed meals and food deliveries are huge hits. Either you can take orders online, through phone, or from a food station, it would be a wonderful delight! Let’s use the popular saying, the way through a man’s heart (to donate for the good) is through his stomach. So, make sure you and your co-volunteers cook well, you won’t want to feed your generous people, bad food, will you?

Film Showing (or Concert for a Cause)

This is also one of the most promising fundraising ideas there ever were. You may choose to search for generous filmmakers to get as a partner, screen their movie somewhere, and offer movie tickets cheaper than the movie house’s price. More donations may come if the makers and artists could be present for an after viewing discussion. If your organization has its own filmmakers, talents, or ready-made film, then it would be so much better to use it. This way, you get to raise funds, while practicing your members’ talents and making the bigger community know about your gift.

Fun Race – Fund Raise

For those health buff out there, a benefit run is hitting two birds with one stone kind of a race. They get to do well for their bodies, at the same time they could help other people. Usually, fun runs ask for a registration fee depending on how far you choose to run, in exchange for a running kit, which basically consists of singlets, nameplates, bags, and other kinds of memorabilia. Again, 2-in-1—better health for the participants and wellness for the event’s beneficiaries.

Sports Tournament

You can choose any kind of sports or you can organize a sports festival. Like the fun run, you can gain funds from registrations and sponsorships. Some sports enthusiasts are more likely to offer help and donations in all kinds when it comes to sports tournaments like yours. This can be a good way for your organization to have fun as well. As for the prizes to whoever will win, this can also be asked for sponsorship, so really there wouldn’t be any much fuss in providing the necessary things.

Remember that beyond gaining funds and earning money for your NPO’s operations and its beneficiaries, the activities shared above could provide you with even better gifts—long lasting support from the community. Through these activities, your organization could meet other groups that you can partner with in your future activities and your organization’s mission and vision. Nothing is impossible with team work and a thorough preparation.

Photo Credit to Producers Market

Productive Coconut Farming: Fertilization (Part 1)

Dr. Nupur Srivastava November 26, 2016

Coconuts are known for their great versatility, as evidenced by many traditional uses, ranging from food to cosmetics (1). The coconut is the most extensively grown and used nut in the world and the most important palm. It is an important commercial crop in many tropical countries, contributing significantly to their economies. They form a regular part of the diets of many people in the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts are distinct from other fruits for their large quantity of “water.” The coconut is a tropical tree species, mainly grown and harvested by small-scale farmers. Production of coconuts is concentrated on island and coastal areas, such as Fiji and Samoa, as well as in the humid tropics, such as India, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia...

The Top 5 Coconut Producing Countries

Country Coconut Production 2014 % of World Total

(metric tonnes)

1. Indonesia 18,300,000 35.8%

2. Philippines 15,353,200 30.0%

3. India 11,930,000 23.3%

4. Brazil 2,890,286 5.66%

5. Sri Lanka 2,513,000 4.9%

Sources: FAOSTAT data, 2016 (last accessed by Top 5 of Anything: January 2016).

Coconut production is in metric tonnes (m/t) for the year 2014 (latest year for which statistics are available as of Jan 2016). This top 5 list may include official, semi-official or estimated data gathered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Coconut cultivation

Coconut trees are hard to establish in dry climates, and cannot grow there without frequent irrigation; in drought conditions, the new leaves do not open well, and older leaves may become desiccated; fruit also tends to be shed (2). Coconut is grown under different soil types such as loamy, laterite, coastal sandy, alluvial, clayey, and reclaimed soils of the marshy low lands. The ideal soil conditions for better growth and performance of the palm are proper drainage, good water-holding capacity, presence of water table within 3m and absence of rock or any hard substratum within 2m of the surface.

Coconut farming in Philippines and challenges faced by the farmers

As the world's second biggest producer of the fruit, the Philippines is a major source of coconut products consumed around the world. In Philippines, the coconut industry provides a livelihood for one-third of the country's population, per data from the Philippine Coconut Authority . Each year the country's 338 million coconut-bearing trees produce on average 15.344 billion nuts a year, second only to Indonesia. At the same time, the Philippines is the world's third most exposed country to natural disasters, the FAO said and its disaster prevention and response systems are poor. The challenges and the damages faced by the farmers post-typhoon are tremendous and irreplaceable. The damage from natural disasters are challenging the industry as it tries to keep up with growing demand. Another reason for low productivity levels may be attributed to lack of information on appropriate technologies for coconut farming. This article summarizes to provide individual farmers basic technologies appropriate for productive coconut farming.

The first step towards my article (Dr. Nupur Srivastava) is to create an awareness about the proper use and management of fertilizers for a healthy and profitable coconut farming. The organization which is supporting me for such a good cause is the non-profit organization,Enhance a Village, Inc. which is dedicated to eliminating poverty in developing nations by educating farmers and helping them gain access to sustainable farming methods and technologies with an emphasis on good stewardship to the environment. Their mission is that by introducing new farming technologies and assisting the farmers to gain vital access to their resources, poverty can be eradicated one village at a time. One such village is Kuyaoyao, Philippines, the people of which, especially, the farmers are struggling in their daily lives to have a stable and profitable income.

The Executive Director, Alfonso Galarpe of Enhance a Village, Inc., says, “The present condition of the village is that the average education level of the community is 5th grade. A few finish high school, and none received a postsecondary education. The farmers earn $6 daily, and they have to resort to other means such as burning mangrove trees to make charcoal supplement their income. The inhalation of smoke poses health issues and devastate the aquatic ecosystem. Children are burden with adult responsibilities to help their family for their livelihood. Solutions are needed to increase the family's income. The coconut trees are aging and becoming unproductive. The solution is to replant with hybrid trees of higher yield from the crop. The farmers receive a small revenue from the raw materials that they provide to multi-national corporations. Their earnings pale the multi-corporation profits who adds value to the raw material in their processing plants to make products such as the virgin coconut oil and coco-sugar. The solution is to build a plant in the village to bypass the corporations and sell on a market on a global scale. The children leave the village in search of jobs in the city where they are vulnerable to crimes such as human trafficking, prostitution, drugs, and slave labor to name a few. Girls end up pregnant at an early age and the vicious cycle of poverty continues generations after generations. The solution is to provide jobs in agriculture and keep the family intact and whole.” A team of volunteers are supporting the organization with their skills and resources.

Proper management and use of fertilizers

Coconut productivity remains low because of dependence of farmers on the natural fertility of the soil. As a perennial crop, coconut takes a long-life cycle and calls for abundance of nutrients to sustain growth and yield. Since the demand is continuous, the supply will eventually be depleted. Some researches in coconut-growing countries revealed that organic fertilizers alone or combined with chemical fertilizers (as KCl or NaCl) promote early flowering and increase yield. Organic fertilizers can be obtained by recycling coconut by-products or other sources like animal manures or industrial wastes. However, farmers should be taught proper management of these materials as they may pose danger to humans, coconut, or the environment (3).

Fertilizer is the most important and costly input to enhance crop yields. Systematic manuring with balanced fertilizer mixtures is an essential practice in the cultivation of coconut. Experiments have shown that fertilizer application markedly increase vegetative growth and nut yield (4). Regular manuring right from the first year of planting is essential for good vegetative growth, early flowering and bearing and sustainable yield of coconut palms. The first application of chemical fertilizers should be done after three months of planting.

Table 1: Annual yield and production cost of salt fertilization on coconut: With an increase in the rate of NaCl fertilization in coconut farming, there is an increase in copra yield average production.

Table 2: Recommended NaCl rates for different stages of growth of coconut palms

Salt, a cheap and effective fertilizer for coconut

A nationwide survey conducted by the Philippine Coconut Authority revealed that 24 out of 54 coconut-producing provinces have widespread chlorine deficiency. The application of sodium chloride (NaCl) or common table salt can effectively control this problem. The application of sodium chloride (NaCl) can increase nut production, copra weight per nut and copra yield per tree. (Table 1). Table 2 shows that different stages of coconut palms requires different application rates of NaCl for increased production. The beneficial role of chlorine in the normal growth, accelerated development, and high nut and copra yields of coconuts was confirmed in the inland coconut-productive areas in Davao, Philippine.

In a long-term study of salt application, 1.5 kg NaCl/tree/year is most effective and economical to increase copra weight/nut and copra yield (per tree or per hectare). Leaf chlorine is the main factor for copra yields; and for foliar diagnosis (a tool for nutritional diagnosis and predicting fertilizer needs), the critical level of leaf-Cl was found at 0.30% Cl and optimum level at 0.50-0.55% Cl. The addition of 60-70 g NaCl/seedling can increase the plant’s girth and fresh weight .

Salt may be applied in three ways:

  • Broadcast (in flat to slightly sloping areas)

  • Broadcast followed by fork-in at 2-3 inches depth of soil (preferably when salt is combined with nitrogenous fertilizers)

  • Holing (for hilly-sloping areas distributed in 8-10 inches with 3-5 inches depth around the base of the tree).

Soil and plant testing: basis for fertilizer recommendation

Fertilizer use for a crop could be recommended based on soil testing and leaf analysis. Not only is fertilizer overuse wasteful, but it can result in the contamination of both crops and water resources with nitrates and other residues. Furthermore, quite apart from the pollution problems, overuse of fertilizers means higher costs for farmers and wasted resources.

Soil testing and plant diagnosis make it possible for farmers to assess the nutrient status of the soil and crop, and apply fertilizers only when there is a deficiency to be corrected. This solves the problem of overuse, and means that crops benefit from a balanced fertilizer regime. In countries where fertilizer applications are very low because of economic constraints, soil and plant testing can help farmers improve the timing and quantity of their fertilizer applications, to make sure that they bring the maximum benefit in terms of crop yield.

The question may arise whether plant or soil analysis should be used for diagnosing crop nutrient requirements and making fertilizer recommendations. The answer is that both methods may be complementary, not competitive and the laboratories should be in the possibility to carry out both types of analysis. However, it is recommended to start soil analysis prior to plant testing. The reason for this is that it is basically necessary to gather sufficient knowledge of the soils which will receive the fertilizers, while plant testing may be carried out as well for observing the effect of fertilizer applications as for determining nutrient requirement of crops.

Hanks in 2013 (5) cited that the conventional uses of soil analysis are the following:

  • Increasing knowledge of what nutrients are specifically available in the soil

  • Reducing environmental impacts due to soil amendments

  • Increasing efficiency of resource inputs such as fertilizers and water

Prediction of nutritional values needed for crop production

In determining the status of the soil for example nutrient availability; these are the parameters being analysed to form a basis to determine fertilizer needs — macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium), micronutrients (zinc, boron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, sodium), available moisture, soil pH, texture, organic matter. After the soil is analysed, fertility recommendations are made based on amounts of actual nutrients in the soil, not on the amount of any particular fertilizer or mixture.

The key production areas of coconut were classified based on the ideal growing condition:

  • Highly suitable – area has highly adequate rainfall, well distributed yearly, with maximum of 1.5 dry months (expected yield of more than 2.5 ton copra/ha/yr).

  • Intermediate/Suitable - area has adequate rainfall, well distributed yearly with maximum of 3 to 4.5 dry months (expected yield of 1.5 to 2.5 ton copra/ha/yr).

  • Fairly suitable - area wherein rainfall is not well distributed, with maximum of 6 dry months (expected yield of less than 1.5 ton copra/ha/yr).

In foliar diagnosis, a composite sample of palms grown under similar conditions is collected at intervals. For a particular stage or age of coconuts, leaf sampling is done on the selected leaf rank (number) of the palm based on its phyllotaxy. Depending on the average count of living or functional leaves at sampling time, a guide to the proper leaf rank to be sampled was recommended by Magat and Prudente (6) as follows:

Living leaves average count (5-10 leaves) Stage Leaf rank to sample

4-6 Nursery 1

7-12 Nursery/field 3 or 4

13-18 Pre-bearing 9

19 or more Bearing 14

Most coconut areas in the Philippines are widely deficient in N, Cl, S and K2O and adequate in other nutrients. Generally, liming is not needed as coconut has a wide adaptability to soil acidity(pH 4.5-8).

With the gained knowledge and emerging technologies, the nutrition and fertilizer requirements for the coconut plants can be easily assessed. These studies would really help the farmers in the remote areas to develop the understanding of the improved methods of fertilization, which in turn would lead to their upliftment in their financial/economic conditions.

References:1."Cocos nucifera L. (Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops; unpublished)". Purdue University, NewCROP - New Crop Resource. 1983.
  1. Chan, Edward and Craig R. Elevitch. (April 2006). Cocos nucifera (coconut) (version 2.1). In C.R. Elevitch (Ed.). Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry. Hōlualoa, Hawai‘i: Permanent Agriculture Resources (PAR).
  2. Mantiquilla, J.A., Canja, L.H., Margate, R.Z. and Magat,S.S. (1994) The Use of Organic Fertilizer in Coconut - A Research Note. Philippine J. Coconut Studies 19 (1) 8-13.
  3. Baloch, P.A., Moizuddin, M., Imam M., Abro B.A., Lund J.A. and Solangi A.H. (2004) Effect of NPK Fertilizers and Farmyard Manure on Nut Production of Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.). Asian Journal of Plant Sciences, 3: 91-93.
  4. Hanks, D. (2013) Soil Analysis -The Reasons and Methods. Available at:(http://www.slideshare.net/bluecowinc/soil-analysis-the-reasons-and-hw-method)
  5. Magat, S.S. (1979) The use of leaf analysis in the coconut field fertilizer trials in the Philippines. Phil. Journal of Coconut Studies 4(1), 32-39.
Photo Credit to Madison.com

What Solution Will Your Donation In Time Or Money Accomplish?

Alfonso Galarpe October 23, 2016

The present condition of the village is that the average education level of the community is 5th grade. A few finish high school, and none received a post secondary education. The schools are distant from the village and getting to school can be very tasking especially during the rainy seasons. Some have to cross the ocean during foul weather to get to their school.

The community's primary livelihood is threatened by the aging coconut trees becoming unproductive. The farmers earn $6 daily, and they have to resort to other means such as burning mangrove trees to make charcoal supplement their income. They inhalation of smoke poses health issues and devastate the aquatic ecosystem. Children are burden with adult responsibilities to help their family for their existence...

The farmers receive a small revenue from the raw materials that they provide to multi-national corporations. Their earnings pale the multi-corporation profits who adds value to the raw material in their processing plants to make products such as the virgin coconut oil and coco-sugar.

The children leave the village in search of jobs in the city where they are vulnerable to crimes such as human trafficking, prostitution, drugs, and slave labor to name a few. Girls end up pregnant at an early age, and the vicious cycle of poverty continues generations after generations.

  • The schools are distant from the village,and some have to cross the ocean during foul weather.

  • Their livelihood is threatened by aging and unproductive coconut trees

  • Multi-national corporations keep the farmers poverty-stricken

  • Children are vulnerable to crimes, human trafficking, prostitution, slave labor, etc.

There is hope and we transform communities to eliminate poverty one village at a time.

The challenges are monumental but with your assistance we can uplift an impoverish community to improve economic prosperity now and for future generations. Be a part of the solutions. To see solutions and how you can participate or contribute in any way shape or form, click here.

Photo Credit to Today Show

The Benefits of Coconut Oil

Tariq Dauhoo August 06, 2016

You have heard it all before with new health fads coming and going each month. Diets involving berries and pills which appear to be the new craze boasting results everyone knows is not true. There is one product, however, which can deliver healthy, positive results no matter what body type you are and doesn’t require you to run on a treadmill for an hour every day or break the bank. Behold Virgin Coconut Oil.

Controversially many years ago it was determined that all forms of coconut oil were bad for the human body due to its’ high levels of fats (Clark, 2011). However, these archaic studies were carried out using partially hydrogenated coconut oil- NOT untouched virgin coconut oil, therefore delivering completely different results. With the surfacing of recent studies it has now been proven that virgin coconut oil holds countless benefits including just a few of the following: prevention of heart disease reduces high blood pressure, reduces inflammation and reduces arthritis. It is also known for reducing side effects where high risk medication has been taken (Axe, 2016)...

These are just a few amongst a wide array of benefits that can prove to be life-saving should you decide to introduce it to your diet. The beauty of virgin coconut oil is that you do not need to have a certain lifestyle or be in a particular age group to see results. The healthy acids found within the oil immediately get to work both internally within the bloodstream and externally on the skin (Brandon, 2015). We should bear in mind coconut oils that are not virgin and that have been refined or processed alter the chemical structure making it bad for you.

Hence, the properties it holds and the benefits it provides it has been labeled a Superfood in the health community as confirmed by Laguipo (2015). It is only a matter of time before we start to see virgin coconut oil based products being introduced and taking the nation by storm. It is apparent that now is the best time to join the community utilizing virgin coconut oil to reap the rewards and benefits it has in store for us. The sooner you introduce it to your diet the sooner you can enjoy a happier, healthier body and lifestyle. If only we could a word in from Dr. Dean Edell

See Related Topic:

Why Coconut Oil is Healthy

Seven Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut Hybrids: An Elixir of Life

How Virgin Coconut Oil Can Care For Your Body

Axe, J. (2016). 20 Coconut Oil Benefits & Side Effects. Retrieved June 14, 2016, from Dr. Axe: https://draxe.com/coconut-oil-benefits/
Brandon, B. (2015). Coconut Oil for Health: 100 Amazing and Unexpected Uses for Coconut Oil. Massachusetts: Adams Media.Clark, M. (2011, March 01). Once a Villain, Coconut Oil Charms the Health Food World. Retrieved June 15, 2016, from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/dining/02Appe.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Laguipo, A. B. (2015, September 09). Myth Debunked: Coconut Oil Not Bad For Health, It’s Superfood. Retrieved June 16, 2016, from Youth Health: http://www.youthhealthmag.com/articles/22778/20150909/myth-debunked-coconut-oil-is-not-bad-for-the-health-it-s-a-superfood.htm
Photo Credit to femina.in

How Virgin Coconut Oil Can Care For Your Body

Alfonso Galarpe June 18, 2016

You have heard it all before with new health fads coming and going each month. Diets involving berries and pills which appear to be the new craze boasting results everyone knows is not true. There is one product, however, which can deliver healthy, positive results no matter what body type you are and doesn’t require you to run on a treadmill for an hour every day or break the bank. Behold Virgin Coconut Oil.

Controversially many years ago it was determined that all forms of coconut oil was bad for the human body due to its’ high levels in fats (Clark, 2011). However, these archaic studies were carried out using partially hydrogenated coconut oil- NOT untouched virgin coconut oil, therefore delivering completely different results. With the surfacing of recent studies it has now been proven that virgin coconut oil holds countless benefits including just a few of the following:

  • prevention of heart disease

  • reduces high blood pressure

  • reduces inflammation and arthritis

  • It is also known for reducing side effects where medication has been taken (Axe, 2016)...

These are just a few amongst a wide array of benefits that can prove to be life-saving should you decide to introduce it to your diet. The beauty of virgin coconut oil is that you do not need to have certain lifestyle or be in a particular age group in order to see results. The healthy acids found within the oil immediately get to work both internally within the bloodstream and externally on the skin (Brandon, 2015). We should bear in mind coconut oils that are not virgin and that have been refined or processed alter the chemical structure making it bad for you.

Hence the properties it holds and the benefits it provides it has been labelled a Superfood in the health community as confirmed by Laguipo (2015). It is only a matter of time before we start to see virgin coconut oil based products being introduced and taking the nation by storm. It is apparent that now is the best time to join the community utilising virgin coconut oil to reap the rewards and benefits it has in store for us. The sooner you introduce it to your diet the sooner you can enjoy a happier, healthier body and lifestyle.

See Related Topic:

The Benefits of Coconut Oil

Why Coconut Oil is Healthy

Seven Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut Hybrids: An Elixir of Life

Axe, J. (2016). 20 Coconut Oil Benefits & Side Effects. Retrieved June 14, 2016, from Dr. Axe: https://draxe.com/coconut-oil-benefits/
Brandon, B. (2015). Coconut Oil for Health: 100 Amazing and Unexpected Uses for Coconut Oil. Massachusetts: Adams Media.
Clark, M. (2011, March 01). Once a Villain, Coconut Oil Charms the Health Food World. Retrieved June 15, 2016, from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/dining/02Appe.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Laguipo, A. B. (2015, September 09). Myth Debunked: Coconut Oil Not Bad For Health, It’s Superfood. Retrieved June 16, 2016, from Youth Health: http://www.youthhealthmag.com/articles/22778/20150909/myth-debunked-coconut-oil-is-not-bad-for-the-health-it-s-a-superfood.htm
Photo Credit to The Positive Edge

My Story

Alfonso Galarpe January 31, 2016

The coconut tree is called "the tree of life" for a good reason. Aside from endless list of products derived from its various parts, the tree also provides environmental and economic benefits to the communities where it grows. It is this tree that provides the solution to my heart felt cause to help lift farmers out of poverty and it fulfills my mother’s vision to provide education to the children of her impoverished village, Kuyaoyao.
Here is my plan to transform this village from poverty, illiteracy, and high unemployment into economic prosperity. Then we can replicate this model in other areas of the Philippines and perhaps around the globe.
This story begins in a tiny village called Kuyaoyao. I remember waking up early dawn when I was a young a boy, to catch a train from Manila to Calauag (the nearest town to Kuyaoyao, in the Province of Quezon, a distance of 145 miles from Manila) with my mother (who is now deceased) and my grandfather (her father, also deceased). I can vividly recall upon arrival to Calauag the Spanish architecture of homes covered with sliding capiz windows (Capiz is a bi-valve that is edible, but the people prize it more for the shells and the pearls. The shells have been used for thousands of years as a glass substitute). Some of the buildings remain the same , yet they are worn from weather, time, and general neglect. From the port of Calauag, we proceeded to ride an outrigger boat (called “bangka” by Filipinos) to Kuyaoyao. There were no motor boats available then so the caretakers of our family land met us to paddle our way to the village. Our family has owned 30 hectares of land here for more than 100 years and my sister, nieces, nephews and I have been thinking about what to do with it since my mother’s passing.
The sea was serene, pristine and clear. I felt one with nature as the boat skimmed through the water hearing only water splashes from the outriggers and the paddles. As we approached the halfway point to the village, as the far as the eyes can see is land abundant with coconut trees. It was a far cry from the concrete buildings that I was accustomed to seeing in Manila...
As we get closer to Kuyaoyao, we enter a water channel filled with submerged mangrove trees traversing the land – an experience only available during high tide. We dock on arrival and walk our way to one of the homes of the caretaker. There we are greeted by the villagers.
Now, fast forward to 2015. It is a place where time has stood still except some of the faces have changed. Huts are common homes to most villagers; they have no running water, and they walk everywhere. Cars are not common - none of the residents own one. The children walk many miles to go to school in all sorts of weather including the rainy seasons where the paths are muddy and nearly impossible to cross at times. Only some of the children have shoes. Older children have to cross the ocean to attend another school district. With an average fifth grade education level for the whole community, there is a high dropout rate . Education is an elusive dream for some, and many don’t dream of it at all -- poverty is a vicious cycle for generation after generation, causing most to decide earning a living to support the family is more important than advancing their education. It is this reason that my mother initiated a plan to build a school in the community. Unfortunately, she passed away before her vision came into fruition.
This is where my journey begins. As a way to make my mom's vision a reality, I have formed an organization, Enhance A Village, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in California, USA. Our organization helps the farmers earn a higher and more stable income, so that their children can complete their secondary education, thereby giving them options for further education or employment, or a more sustainable agricultural income. This economic-educational program will stop the cycle of poverty and lack of better opportunities to earn income. We introduce the farmers to the potential of economic prosperity with new farming methods, renewable energy, and marketing, amongst other programs, all with an emphasis to good stewardship of the land. It is not a handout, but a way to pass knowledge for the greater good. The old adage, “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime," still applies. We want to educate, train, and support the farmers and their families so that by the time the next generation is nearing adulthood, we have the majority of the children with high school educations and the ability to dream and find better economic stability for themselves and their future families.
We recently completed a water project for the community, to provide clean, accessible, and consistently available drinking water for the villages. A previous drought caused problems with health and agricultural output, further eroding their basic subsistence level. We are in the process of transferring ownership, management and responsibility for ensuring access to drinking water in perpetuity to an elected group of villagers. The villagers want the responsibility to care for themselves; they recognize some of the obstacles to achieving independence, and are committed to the learning process to safeguard the success they have already achieved.
Our current project is to replant coconut trees for environmental and economic impact. We plan to shift production from copra to coco-sugar, a more profitable and a healthier product that has high market potential worldwide The event to plant the coconut trees will be held March 1-2, 2016. Copra is the dried kernel of the coconut meat that is used to extract coconut oil. We are switching from copra to coconut sugar because of its higher profit potential in the market. With better profits, we believe the children can then stay in school while their parents work the fields.
Currently, the family land is in need of replanting aged coconut trees. The coconut trees from my youth have been unproductive, and the soil/sand needs amending with organic fertilizer in order for the new trees to produce fruit in one and half years.
We invite you to join us and give your support with your donations. Your donation of $20 or more will name a tree on your behalf in commemoration with your support to eliminate poverty. We plan to keep you up to date on the planting event, the maintenance of the fields and the harvest so you can see for yourself how we are progressing with the project AND so you can see how the villagers are developing their economic independence.
We are grateful for every donation, whether it is more or less than $20! Think of a loved one you’d like a tree dedicated to.
  • $1-$19 - a Thank you postcard mailed from the village with a picture from our planting event.
  • $20 per tree (can purchase multiples): Benefits listed above PLUS your tree’s location (coordinates) and a listing in our registry (online and on the roster on the wall of our community center)
  • $100 (can purchase multiples) per tree: Benefits listed above PLUS a brass plaque on our community center’s honoree wall. Please include name and message you’d like on the plaque. Limit 140 characters.

If you would like to volunteer in some way, please e-mail us at info@enhanceavillage.org with your request or apply online. Someone will contact you with an application for you to complete. We accept applications on a rolling basis, depending on our need. The first round for participating in our planting activity will be due by February 1, 2016. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Check back at our website for further opportunities!

You shop, Amazon gives to Enhance A Village

Khristine Reyes January 27, 2016

To upgrade yourself or to upgrade the lives of other people - what if you can do both?

AmazonSmile is working hand in hand with Enhance A Village in ensuring you can be part of improving the lives of the people in Kuyaoyao.

Here's how:

  1. Shop at smile.amazon.com. Don't worry, they have the same products, prices and services with Amazon.

  2. Choose your charity. Hope you can keep Enhance A Village, Inc. in mind.

  3. AmazonSmile will then donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charity of your choice.

Easy right? Just like that, you'll be able to join us in Enhancing a Village!

A Plea Answered

Khristine Reyes January 22, 2016

Improving the livelihood and living conditions of the people of Kuyaoyao have been the driving force of our organization. We strive to impart useful information and work hand in hand with the community. It is in our interaction with the locals that we hear the story of each individual and one of which we’ve need to learn is Lanie Abano’s story, a housewife struggling with a sickness.

On December 17, 2015, Mrs. Hernenia Abano known as Nana Menyang to the villagers, approached our Chief Operating Officer, Ricardo Reyes, seeking for assistance. She asked for a loan of Php5,000 ($108.69, rate is $1 = Php46) for the hospitalization of her daughter in law, Lanie, who has a lump in her throat. Ricardo immediately notified our Executive Director, Alfonso Galarpe, about the situation and without hesitation, the financial aid was granted to Lanie Abano and she was brought to Bicol Medical Center in Naga City for proper hospitalization. The initial findings of Lanie showed that she has Chronic Hypertrophic Tonsillitis, a chronic enlargement of the tonsils.

Lanie’s story is just one of the many we’re continuously encountering in enhancing the village of Kuyaoyao and we cannot do it alone. We need the support of people who share the same mission and vision with us, proactive individuals who are willing to go above and beyond for it is a compassionate heart and a passion for service that will lead us to realize our goal: ENHANCE A VILLAGE.

Join US! Volunteer or donate to Enhance A Village.

Photo Credit to Syllad

EAV: A New Promise

Marifi Nitor August 20, 2015

Some years ago I’ve worked actively with at least three non-profit organizations based in Palawan, Philippines and at least seven (7) community-based organizations all at the same time. It was a very enriching experience especially since I’ve just left the four corners of my classroom where I’ve taught for more than three years. Having been exposed in the realities of the world tickled my imagination and artistic inclination to find options for the communities I’ve worked with to better their situation or at least give them inspiration to dream and work more to improve themselves.

EAV: A New Promise

I’ve walked the walks, talked the talks, climbed the climbs… it was really one of the most productive years in my life. I’ve written project proposals, implemented projects (of course with the help of the staff), trained and guided community leaders in reaching their aspirations for community development.

After those several years with the development sector, I’ve learned so much on program and people management and even having to manage the office for a while. I’ve became aware how strong the presence of “cheeky traits” is which some of us have such as, insatiety, “Talangka” mentality, “Inggitan” system, “creative” accounting and favor here and there in exchange for something, among others.

Running an NPO is really challenging and never easy that I’ll say people who involve themselves in such with little to nothing in return are the reasons we can bring back trust and belief in the miracle of love and humanity...

The different advocacies to forward the rights and interests of the less fortunate and the incapacitated of these non-profit organizations or charities are such a challenge, yet they still opt to for the good of their fellowmen. Along with the hardships of certification process and everyday struggles and activities, NPOs face and encounter the adversities of looking for and finding the truthful, generous private organizations and institutions for funds as they only get these from grants or endowments to continue with their charitable, educational, cultural, literary, scientific, economic, religious, psycho-social, social welfare, and/or other similar activities.

Of course NPOs go through stringent and strict process before being certified and registered from the Stocks and Exchange Commission and Bureau of Internal Revenue in the Philippines or International Revenue – the government agencies assigned to look over their qualifications, reliability, and plausibility.

So, ‘where do funds go?’ Let us try to answer that for the entire world to understand, how NPOs operate with the very little to minimal budget. Though they face everyday with lack of budget, NPOs still see to it that regular expenses and programs are well taken care of. The funds usually go to (a) Project and Activities, (b) Staff’s Allowances, (c) Office and Field Materials, (d) Transportation Costs, (e) Information Dissemination, (f) Scholarship Grants or Extended Services, (g) Maintenance and other Operating Expenditures, and other regular and equally important operational cost.

What can EAV promise?

There are various ways for NPOs to keep their donors and guarantors updated as to where the funds go and how their donations are being used. For EAV, here are some of the methods through which we will maintain transparent report in funds utilization as well as sharing our projects’ progress.

Online Accounting Software

Accounting Software online is a potential tool for liquidating the expenses in a recent and particular activity, program, event, or regular operational cost. For further transparency, you can ask and let the board of directors and some of the major donors and guarantors have access to this software as you regularly take note on it.

Progress, Live Reporting

Nowadays, anything is possible with the use of the internet and other kinds of technology. By the mere use of your gadgets (laptop, video camera with internet connection, smartphone, or tablet) you can easily stream your activities online for the whole world to see and let them know where exactly the funds go, who benefits from it and how funds are practically utilized. There should be no more doubts and worries as to whether any activity or program is legitimate.

Updated Web Reports

Most NPOs have their official website and are practicing updated web reports. There’s nothing wrong in updating the public, your beneficiaries, and the donors of what kinds of activities you have recently conducted and how the funds were utilized in each of those.


Every donor and guarantor, though some like to be low profile, would want to know how much help they have provided to the respective beneficiaries. Creating infographics is one of the most creative and informative ways to update and notify the concerned parties.

Traditional Reporting

Traditional way of reporting still has its spark when it comes to informing the higher officials and donors for the things they need to know about the funds and its utilization. By keeping a regular, updated spreadsheet or ledger, complete with receipts, invoices, and other proof of expense for a certain activity or program, it would show transparency in the funds’ use.

Live Representation

Through live representation, you can always ask the company, institution, or private individual for a representative to come and witness the event or activity where the funds are being used for personal and live reports on the matter. In this case, the people who are concerned will first handedly observe the utility of funds.

Aside from these steps and venues, there a lot of other ways that NPOs show their transparency for funds’ use. A donor or funder can always ask for such, like these stated above or however way they want.

There’s a lot to learn about the purity and gallantry of the NPOs and the people behind these institutions and even the slightest help that they can get from private companies, corporations, organizations and institutions will definitely result to additional assistance to the most needing beneficiaries. So, if we are able and capable, what would be the reason for us to be stingy and selfish for their little and limited happiness that we could give them?

Reach out, share and make people happy.

Photo Credit to Western City Magazine

One Faucet, 500 Lives (Kuyaoyao Water Crisis)

Dann Fong August 19, 2015

Water – one of modern society's’ greatest needs. Not only do we use this valuable resource to clean, cook food, and cool our machines, it is one of the basic needs for human survival. We drink water to replenish our hydration; and considering the human body is made of 55%-75% water, you can say that this is very important.

This is why modern cities have made it a point to deliver potable water to each and every home, building, and structure within. It is accessible and clean. Just turn on the faucet and you get a glass of cool water. However, what most do not realize is that there’s still millions of people living without access to drinking water. According to a joint monitoring program by UNICEF (United Nation’s Children's Fund) and WHO (World Health Organization), about 748 million people from around the world are unable to enjoy such comforts. For them, clean water is a luxury.

Developing nations in South America and Africa are facing problems with poverty, health, and education. One of the reasons is because they lack a basic need in water. They still do not have the infrastructure to deliver clean, potable water to their citizens. Most of these people don’t even have a working faucet!

One such place where people have no access to proper drinking water is Kuyaoyao in Quezon Province in the Philippines. Everyday, the struggle is real for these men and women just to get a drink of water.

What they do is collect water from ponds that are miles from their homes. This chore is usually done by the women and children. Aside from carrying a 40 pound container filled with water, they have to trek for miles on end through dangerous roads just to get from their homes, to the watering hole, and back for their families. On average, it takes a woman or a child 4 hours to accomplish this goal.

On top of that, the water they are able to collect from ponds is exposed to various forms of bacteria which can cause different illnesses including diarrhea, cholera, and more. Children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to these because their bodies are not strong enough to withstand the bacteria.

Think about it. Because of the time and effort spent, children are unable to study or even go to school. Mothers are forced to let their children drink dirty water filled with bacteria. The little money the father’s make a day are now used to purchase medicine. Without proper accessible drinking water, these families are unable to focus on education, health, and poverty.

The good news is, the water crisis faced by the millions of people is solvable. Old technologies such as a deep-well strategically placed near a village can already save hundreds of lives and thousands of working hours. Then, there are modern solutions such as water filtration systems that can help thousands of people at a time. Either way, the point is that this can be solved; and you can be a part of the solution.

Enhance a Village is running a campaign to provide proper drinking water to the people of Kuyaoyao, Quezon Province and you can help by simply donating. Every contribution donated is a step closer to providing hundreds to thousands of people with clean water.

Photo Credit to Harvard Health

A Farmer's Cry

Khristine Reyes July 02, 2015

We depend on coconut and water to quench our thirst. Farmers depend on these to earn a living.

We consume coconuts without the trouble of harvesting it. We drink clean water and go about our daily lives without worrying how and where to get it. But what about those who do? What about those people walking a mile or two just to get safe drinking water? What about those who constantly lose money due to pests threatening their source of income?

These are the harsh reality people of Cuyaoyao face everyday. Now's the time we hear their story.

Photo Credit to Inside Higher Ed

Benefits of Virtual Internship

Alfonso Galarpe May 12, 2015

So there you are enjoying your semester break and the last thing that you want to think about is the compulsory On the Job Training (OJT) that needs to be completed before graduation. You’ve worked hard and you deserve a little rest and relaxation; but why should you starting thinking about OJT or internship now? The old adage of the early bird gets the worm applies here.

Internship is a requirement by most schools with good reason. Most corporations and their officers unanimously agree and desire students with some type of relevant internship experience before entering the work force (Knemeyer & Murphy, 2002). This creates a favorable condition for the students whereas the internship may pave the way to full time employment upon graduation as well as in-depth understanding of actual business practices (Cannon & Arnold, 1998). Research has shown that those with OJT/Internship experience tends to be placed in their first job more quickly than those without (Knouse, Tanner, & Harris, 1999). Additionally, graduates with internship experience tend to receive noticeably higher starting salaries and report greater job satisfaction than their non‐internship counterparts.

Now consider Virtual Internship. What is virtual internship? Virtual internship is a work experience program where the participant (intern) gains experience while working in a remote professional setting and is not physically present at the job location...

The Benefits of Going Virtual (Lucio, 2012)

  • Flexible Schedules: Being a virtual intern gives you the opportunity to manage a work schedule around the time slots that work best for you. This works perfectly for students who are looking for work experience, but have additional commitments i.e. student organizations, part-time jobs…homework!

  • Location & Time Management: Most virtual internships require only an internet connection to work, so you can set up shop anywhere. Work on a project at the library or complete work assignments between classes, since there is no physical office to report to, every open opportunity you have can potentially become “intern time.” One this is for certain participating in a virtual internship will teach you time management skills.

  • Broaden Your Network: Since the freedom of a virtual internship can allow someone living in the Philippines to work for a company in U.S., participants have the opportunity to network with a whole new spectrum of professionals in their field. Aside from their direct-report, interns can connect and work with other interns and full-time staff members on assignments that will allow them to learn more and broaden their network in far away cities. This is especially helpful if the intern wants to relocate to the area after graduation.

  • Practical Experience: All internships give students hands on experience outside of the classroom setting. Being a virtual intern is no exception. Interns can work on multiple projects and learn how to be part of a virtual team. The experience teaches students how to overcome challenges like working with limited communication and with time change elements.

  • Ability to work under limited supervision: Not having constant supervision gives students the opportunity to learn how to be self-motivators and how to achieve deadlines without micromanagement. It also causes students to be more aware of the work they turn in because they need to meet deadlines and have to deal with the challenge of not being able to constantly be in touch with their superiors.

In conclusion, Virtual OJT/Internship offers the best choice for an intern to fulfill their graduation requirement. It can open doors of opportunities without the physical location limitation of a traditional office OJT. Enhance A Village, a U.S. based 501C3 nonprofit organization can made arrangement with your school for OJT/Virtual Internship. As the old adage goes “the early bird gets the worm” and enrollment is now taking place. To learn more, leave a comment and we will provide a contact for your school.

  • Cannon, J., & Arnold, M. (1998). Student expectations of collegiate internship programs in business: a 10‐year update. Journal of Education for Business, Vol. 73 No. 4, pp. 202‐5.
  • Knemeyer, A., & Murphy, P. (2002). Logistics internships: Employer and student perspectives. Retrieved October 18, 2014, from Emeral Insight: http://www.emeraldinsight.com.ezproxy.snhu.edu/doi/full/10.1108/09600030...
  • Knouse, S., Tanner, J., & Harris, E. (1999). The relation of college internships, college performance, and subsequent job opportunity. Journal of Employment Counseling, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 35‐43.
  • Lucio, D. (2012, November 11). 5 Benefits of Virtual Internships. Retrieved October 19, 2014, from Braathe Enterprises: http://www.braatheenterprises.com/virtualproject/professional-development/internship/benefits-virtual-internships/#.VENZvPldUmM

Children from the village taking a bangka (boat) to school

Ricardo Reyes May 12, 2015

Children from the village taking a bangka (boat) to school in good and foul weather. One of our project is to build an elementary school nearby to eliminate the danger and the task of going to school.

Support the children of the village of Kuyaoyao. Go to www.enhanceavillage.org to donate or volunteer. Tax-deductible EIN 47-1571119.

Photo Credit to Agriculture Monthly

Forsaken Farmers

Ricardo Reyes May 12, 2015

The Philippines is an agricultural country, twenty seven percent (27%) of the total agricultural land is planted with coconut thus, and coconut production has a vital role in the national economy of the country. It is one of the largest producers of coconut in the world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in 2009 it produce 19,500,000 tons of copra. In 2012 alone, Philippines exported more than 1.5 million metric tons of copra, coconut oil, copra meal, desiccated coconut, coco shell charcoal, and activated carbon and coco chemicals. During those days, coconut farmers are blissful for they earned much. But sometime in 2004 and 2005, the coconut industry in the country faced a crucial problem; the coconut industry was invaded by invasive pest called aspidiotus rigidus (cocolisap) and brontispa longissima (gestro). For almost a decade now, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) the sole agency taking good care the welfare of the coconut farmers failed to contain said pests.

The coconut infestation is already a public knowledge; the farmers are always complaining to the agency because their income is tremendously affected and their coconut trees are dying slowly. The agency is suggesting a chemical against aspidiotus rigidus and brontispa longissima (gestro) but it is not acceptable to the farmers not only because it is expensive but also imposes risks to the health and to the environment. There is a beneficial insect that the agency is mentioning the parasitoid asecodes hispinarium and the earwigs, this sound better to the farmers but it is nowhere to be found. It is not available in the market. The clamor of the farmers is neither artificial nor superficial. It is real. It is manifested by His Excellency Benigno Simeon C. Aquino by signing the Executive Order 169 declaring a state of emergency in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon (CALABARZON) and the island of Basilan, where millions of coconut trees are in danger of dying due to infestation. If the spread of the above mentioned pest is not contained it may wipe out the coconut industry in the country. According to PCA crop loss in CALABARZON has reached Php. 179.6 million (US $4,081,818.00) while 335,091 coconut trees and 1,826 farmers are already affected...


The coconut farmers should act collectively now. They should learn how to propagate parasitoid asecodes hispinarium and earwigs the shortest possible time or to imports said beneficial insects in order to contain the destruction. The requirement of the Department of Agriculture in importing beneficial insect is very stringent. The farmers should not be cowed by the system. If the coconut farmers were able to contribute about $2 Billion in foreign exchange earnings and provide livelihood to 3.5 million farmers in 68 provinces of the country, perhaps, they can do something to curb the pests.

Most likely because of the intricate procedure in importation or production of beneficial insects it will require the services of the lawyer just to pursue the remedy to the industry. And if the circumstances permit, the coconut farmers can also file a law suit (class suit) for the inaction of the agency concern. A seven thousand five US dollar ($7,5000.00) is a healthy start for the farmers to remedy infestation and to find the people who are responsible for the inaction. The farmers just remember this time honored principle, Salus papuli est suprema lex (The welfare of the people is the supreme law of the land). Help us give the farmers a fighting chance by donating to their cause.

Enhance a Village, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating poverty in developing nations by educating farmers and helping them gain access to sustainable farming methods and technologies with an emphasis on good stewardship to the environment. Your donation is tax-deductible. You can donate or volunteer here.

Planting rice - a village effort

Ricardo Reyes May 12, 2015

A scene of the farms in Kuyaoyao village and of the villagers working together to plant rice. After a days work, the villagers still manages to put a smile on their faces.