|DA furthers coco water production to boost coconut industry|
|Written by DA-AFID|
|Tuesday, 24 February 2015 06:52|
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has begun harnessing the potential of coconut water production as an additional way to increase revenues from the coconut industry and improve lives of the smallholder coconut farming sector.
Speaking at the recent inauguration of the Coco Water Processing Technology, Pilot Testing and Business Incubation Facility at the DA-Regional Field Office V in Camarines Sur, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala stressed that the coconut industry discards about 85 percent of coconut water that could otherwise be conserved and processed into value-added products.
Alcala said that coconut farmers should be given other ways to source income from coconuts—not just with coconut oil, the cost of which has depreciated over the years—and DA has identified coconut water production as a feasible enterprise for them.
“Coconut farmers are the poorest in the agriculture sector. But this time, we will use coconut to change the lives of coconut farmers in the country through the non-traditional coco water,” Alcala said.
The Secretary added that while processing coco water, the facility may also be modified to extract virgin coconut oil and manufacture coconut flour.
“Let’s look into these so we can maximize resources,” he added.
Camarines Sur Governor Migz Villafuerte meanwhile said that the provincial government will extend its full support for the project especially in packaging and promotion, highlighting the role of coco water production in uplifting the lives of coconut farmers.
“With Camarines Sur as a [growing] sports and tourism destination, we can endorse the product to athletes and tourists. Being natural, fresh and nutritious, the product can become popular through word of mouth,” Villafuerte said.
According to Director Rex Bingabing of the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), the Camarines Sur prototype will be set up as village-level facilities near farming communities to be operated by farmer cooperatives. In this way, farmers will directly benefit and jobs will be created for the communities.
Secretary Alcala stressed that financial resources are needed to replicate and scale-up the project in other coconut-producing areas of the country. He then urged stakeholders to help DA come up with data to convince the economic managers of the country to endorse using part of the coco levy fund to develop the coco water industry.
The facility was constructed through the concerted efforts of the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), PhilMech, DA-RFO5, Camarines Sur Provincial Local Government Unit and Central Bicol University of Agriculture (CBSUA) to further test and support the commercial viability of coconut water, improve the profitability of coconut by-products and provide additional income and livelihood to coconut farmers in the Bicol region and eventually, in the whole country.
Regional Information Officer
DA-Region 5, San Agustin, Pili, Camarines Sur
Contact Nos.: (054)4755113/09493445410
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 February 2015 06:53|