Philippines hopes to flood world with coconut productsBy Jeannette I. Andrade
Philippine Daily Inquirer
If the investment plan of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) pushes through, the world may soon be awash in coconut water, virgin coconut oil and other coconut byproducts, including chips, jam, vinegar, frozen coco meat, liquid coco milk, coconut milk powder, macapuno, coco liquor, coco coir and coconut handicraft.
The PCA under the Department of Agriculture is looking at investing over P1.7 billion to boost the export of coconut products to at least 100 countries.
PCA Administrator Euclides Forbes cited records that indicated that 39 coconut products and byproducts were among the country’s leading agricultural exports, with export earnings totaling $1.96 billion last year.
The P1.75-billion investment, Forbes said, would be used “to devise and implement strategies to take advantage of the growing export demand on coco water, VCO and coconut sap sugar.”
The PCA, he said, was working with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) to develop processing and postharvest technologies to further lengthen the shelf life of coconut water for domestic and export markets.
For his part, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that President Benigno Aquino “(has) instructed that assistance be given to coconut farmers.” He added that the coconut industry should take advantage of available technologies to enable coconut farmers and entrepreneurs to create new and innovative byproducts.
Alcala said the PCA was implementing a nationwide coconut planting and replanting program under which some 14.6-million seed nuts had been planted as of July 31 to sustain the productivity of small coconut farmers and increase their income.
The PCA also hoped to fertilize up to 25-million coconut trees next year and to implement a coconut livelihood and intercropping program, the Kasaganaan sa Niyugan ay Kaunlaran ng Bayan (Kaanib) at 300 sites nationwide, the agriculture official said.
Last year’s top exports included coconut oil at $1.4 billion, dessicated coconut at $287 million and coco chemicals at $35 million, Forbes said.
He added that exports of coconut water during the first six months of the year increased to 10.2-million liters worth $11.2 million, while VCO exports doubled to 4,422 metric tons worth $18.2 million in the same period.