The following short BBC report is a great primer on what’s happened to the coconut farmers as a result of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

These coconut farmers appear to live among the coconuts. More common on Samar is for the plot of land where the coconuts are farmed to be up inland, a lengthy hike from the coastal villages. That’s the way it is for our family — the coconut plot is a full day’s hike up muddy pathways. The way it works (or used to work before Haiyan) in our family was that for every harvst (there are 3.5 harvests per year) a different group of brothers/sisters are responsible for the harvest, and get to keep the profits. They hike up into the mountain forest to the plot and then they harvest the coconuts, but that’s just the beginning.

After harvesting all the coconuts (maybe 2000 pieces for a good harvest), they they split them and spend ten days to two weeks making copra by by splitting the hulls and drying them. Once this process is finished, they use a carabao to get the crop down from the mountain. Nowadays they just bring it down to Guinob-an. Many years ago Rena’s father had another plot, much deeper in the forest and they would bring it down to the river, where it would get loaded on a boat.

From Guinob-an, it goes (went) to Tacloban where a crop would bring a net of maybe P15,000. ($300). Doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re living a life that doesn’t involve a lot of cash, that’s a significant amount of cash.

Now all of that is over for awhile at least.

It’s very important to get new seeds in the ground as soon as possible.

That will be a key part of the recovery.


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