DA - ₱1.7-Billion Investment to Boost Coconut Export

The Department of Agriculture (DA) will invest 1.7 billion to increase the export of non-traditional coconut products such as coconut water and virgin coconut oil (VCO).

"President Aquino is confident that the coconut industry has the potentials to make it big in the world market, and instructed that assistance be given to coconut farmers especially now that there is big hype on coconut water," Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said.

"We will devise and implement strategies to take advantage of the growing export demand on coco water, VCO, and coconut sap sugar," he added.

PCA Administrator Euclides Forbes said the export of coconut water during the first six months of 2012 have increased to 10.2 million liters (worth US$11.2 million), doubling from 5.7 million liters (worth US$ 5.6M) during the same period last year.

He said the DA-PCA is working with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) to develop respective processing and postharvest technologies that would further lengthen the shelf life of coconut water for domestic and export markets.

Forbes also said export of VCO also doubled to 4,422 metric tons (MT), worth US$18.2M from January to June 2012, from 2,072 MT (worth US$8.4M) during the same period of 2011.

Alcala said the coconut industry should take advantage of available matured technologies to enable coconut farmers and entrepreneurs create new and innovative by-products from the "tree of life."

Further, to sustain the productivity and further increase the incomes of small coconut farmers and their families, the PCA will implement a nationwide coconut planting and replanting program.

As of July 31, some 14.6 million seed nuts were planted, accounting for 71 percent of this year's total target.

The PCA also aims to fertilize up to 25 million coconut trees in 2013, and will implement a coconut livelihood and intercropping program, called Kasaganaan sa Niyugan ay Kaunlaran ng Bayan (KAANIB), in 300 sites throughout the country.

Forbes said coconut products and by-products remain as the country's leading agricultural exports, totaling US$1.96 billion last year, 20 percent more than in 2010, worth US$1.63 billion.

He said some 39 coconut products and by-products are exported to at least 100 countries.

Last year, the top export was coconut oil worth US$1.4B, followed by desiccated coconut (US$287 million), and coco chemicals (US$35M).

Other coconut export products are VCO, coco water, chips, jam, vinegar, frozen coco meat, liquid coco milk, coconut milk powder, macapuno, coco liquor, coco coir and coconut handicraft, among other by-products.

Manila Bulletin 

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