But neophytes should not attempt to do this. Halved coconuts can be dried in one of two ways. The first is by letting them dry by the heat of the sun, which takes a longer time. The other and faster way is by heating them. A bamboo house or shack without walls is built at about 3 feet above the ground. It has only a roof and a floor. The halved coconuts are piled on the floor. Some coconut husks are piled beneath the shack but not too close to burn the shack. A torch is used to set fire on these piled coconut husks but they are monitored carefully. More fire is set if it turns low. The halved coconuts turn brown and separate from the shells when ready for scooping. Just enough heat from medium to low is used to avoid burning. When the fruits at the bottom are done, the fire is taken out and the coconuts are allowed to cool. When cool, the coconuts are taken to another working area. When some are not too well done, they must be separated and heated again until they turn brown and cooked enough for scooping. Harvesters scoop the cooked coconuts from the shell by using a handmade and wooden semi-pointed instrument, which curves at the tip. Dried coconut meat is scooped with it from the shell. When finished, harvesters cut the meat into 4 to 6 pieces for every halved coconut. The product, copra, is placed inside a sack for selling. The sacks are brought by the carabao-driven cart to the main road where they can be transferred to some other transport means if the coconut plantation is distant. From there, the sacks of copra are brought to the where the merchants can buy them (Batanes).
Copra Production and Consumption Decline
The country's new record in 2010 at 2.8 million tons went down to 2.3 million tons or by almost 20% because of the drought effects of El Nino (Corpuz 2012). This level is expected to remain from 2012 as coconut palms must take what is termed as "biological rest" of three consecutive years after the heavy yields from 2008-2010. This has led to an increase in imports of 100,000 tons in 2011 and seen to remain until local production can go up again. It must, however, be noted that the 2010 high copra production levels were achieved despite El Nino. That year was the third consecutive time of excellent copra yield. The Department of Agriculture responded by resorting to aggressive replanting efforts and price adjustments (Corpuz).
Region 5 -- Bicol Region
This region is located at the southernmost edge of Luzon, measuring approximately 18,000 kilometers (PSA 2014). It is composed of 6 provinces, one chartered city, 6 component cities, 107 municipalities and 3.471 barangays or villages. There are 14 congressional districts in this Region at present. Its population as of 2010 was 5,420,411 with an annual growth rate of 1.46%. The provinces are Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon. The capital of the region is Legaspi City. The economy of the region is still basically agricultural as about 40% of its total workforce is in the agricultural sector. Its other major economic contributing sector is mining. The two major geothermal fields, which contribute a large amount of power to the Luzon Grid, are located in this Region (PSA).
Its regional economy growth rate as of 2012 was 7.1% and poverty incidence among families in the same year was 32.3% (PSA 2014). It is the 7th poorest among the country's regions. As of 2012, its gross regional domestic product was P216,873,375, with an 8.9% increase over the preceding year's P199,233,506. Agriculture, fishery and forestry were the leading sectors, which accounted for P52,731,633 of the overall gross regional domestic product. The sectors, however, did not register any increase from the preceding year. Coconut ranked 5th in crop production for 2012 at 1,204,459 metric tons or a 3.2% growth from the previous year's 1,201,707. Palay topped the list. Coconut ranked fourth in the crop area harvested list at 453,501 hectares with a 0.2% growth from the preceding year at 452,681 hectares (PSA).
Camarines Sur is located at southern-eastern part of Luzon and in the middle of the Bicol Peninsula (PSA 2014). It is politically subdivided into 5 congressional districts, one chartered city, one component city, 35 municipalities and 1,063 barangays or villages. Its land area of 5,502 square kilometers is about 30% of the Bicol Region and 1.83% of the entire Philippines. As of the latest provincial census on May 1, 2010, its population was 1,822,371 or approximately one-third of that of the Region. The average growth rate between 2000 and 2010 was 1.62%. Its economy is 62% agricultural and the total land area planted to crops with 18% to coconut. Naga City is its financial, trade, religious and educational center. Pili is, however, the provincial capital. The average family income of the province in the year 2000 was 102,349 with 5 members per household by the year 2010. It comes under income class 1, which means that it has an average annual income of P459 million or more (PSA).
One of its municipalities is Calabanga, which is under a class -1 income category, partly urban and has a population of 73,333 (Philippine Islands 2014). Its land area is 163.80 km and considered one of the most populous municipalities in the province. It belongs to the Luzon group of islands. It is around 17 km in the northwest part of Pili and 259 km east-south of Manila. The municipality has 48 barangays or villages, 9 of which are at the center and the 39 at the outlying areas, some even located many kilometers away from the center. One of its small municipalities is Siruma, which used to consist of several towns until it became a single and independent town on its own. It used to be under the jurisdiction of Quipayo, which was among the oldest parishes of the Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres. Quipayo eventually became a barangay or village of Calabanga. An 1846 decree by Governor General Narciso Claveria ceded Siruma to Camarines Norte. The name was taken from an island named "Matandang Siruma," which meant a small red ant. It is now the third district of Camarines Sur, a fourth-class municipality with a total population of 17,050 as of 2010 count. Its local government under Municipal Mayor Sandy Ondis boasts of holding the New Guiness World Record of planting 64,900 trees in less than half an hour. Siruma is subdivided into 22 political barangays or villages. One of these is Butawanan. While some of the barangays or villages or Siruma became urbanized, others, especially those in distant areas, maintained their rural structure. Butawanan is one of these. It has a diminutive population of 1,487.
Mercedes is important municipality in this paper. It is among the 10 most populous in Camarines Norte, a partly-urban second-class municipality with a population of 44,375 as of the latest count (Philippine Islands 2014). It has a land area of 173.65 km. It is located at 7 km east of Daet, the capital of Camarines Norte and approximately 222 km east-south-east of Manila. It has also become a commercial location for its proximity to bigger cities and municipalities like Iriga City in Camarines Sur, Lopez in Quezon, Libmanan and Calabanga in Camarines Sur, Naga City and Nabua and Buhi, also in Camarines Sur (Philippine Islands).
Philippine Agriculture Performance in 2013
Philippine agriculture grew by 1.15% in 2013, according to the Department of Agriculture (BAS 2013). All sub-sectors realized output gains despite a minimal increase in crop production. Gross agricultural output was valued at P1.5 trillion at current prices, a 3.51% increase over that of 2012. The crops sub-sector in particular earned P814.7 billion gross at current prices or a 2.13% increase over that of the previous year. Like corn, the gross value of coconut production fell by 8.44% because of lower production and prices. Production volume at 7.4 million metric tons was a 0.40% decrease from the previous year's level. Both the harvest area and production at the ARMM region also decreased in the second quarter of 2013 as a consequence of shifting to cultivating oil palm and cassava and the destructive Typhoon Gorio. This damage was made worse by Typhoon Yolanda in Leyte, Eastern Samar, Samar and Aklan in the fourth quarter of 2013 (BAS).
The production of coconut went down by 3.26% during the reference period as a result of reduced harvest because of the damages inflicted by Typhoon Pablo in Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur (BAS 2013). Other destructive Typhoons, which reduced harvest, were Labuyo and Santi in Aurora. Other causes of reduced coconut production were cutting and replanting to less productive trees in Oriental Mindoro, shift to rubber cultivation in Basilan, lesser prices of copra in Surigao…