General Technical Documents are resources made available through ECHOcommunity.org that are not currently part of an ECHO periodical publication such as ECHO Development Notes or ECHO Technical Notes. These resources may or may not be published by ECHO, but have been made available to the ECHOcommunity as online, sharable resources.
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For a long time, coconut farmers were able to live with the fate of declining harvests and incomes. In view of the current prices, this is no longer possible. It needs changes. The best option coconut farmers have to improve their livelihood is to diversify their farms. Fortunately, common coconut farms allow the integration of many other crops
or even livestock. In this regard, the coconut palm is an exception among the plantation crops.
The practice of intercropping is common in coconut farms in many countries, especially in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and India. In the Philippines, where coconuts occupy about one fourth of the arable land, the ground in many coconut farms is still underutilized. One reason is the commodity approach of research institutions and the government agencies. For example, during the last decade the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) has focused its work on a fertilization program with the aim to increase the production of coconuts. Looking at the current price of copra, the main coconut product, it is questionable if such an approach really helps the farmers. Hence, there is a need for more information on options to improve coconut farms. Because of the decreasing profitability, farmers tend to cut down coconut palms and replace them with other cash crops, usually planted as monocrop. Ecologically and economically, this might be unwise considering the potentials of coconut farms.