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PIA Press Release
Tuesday, January 17, 2012

 

DavOr gives additional value to coco products

by Mai Gevera-Macapagat

DAVAO CITY, Jan 17 (PIA) - The coconut capital of Mindanao, Davao Oriental, cannot just forever stay as a copra capital. Industry leaders and even farmers felt that there is more to coconut rather it being a copra product.

Farmers were challenged and thought of alternatives after copra prices dropped to a record low of P5.00 per kilo in 2006.

Coco by-product processing plants then started to crop up in the province. Farmers researched about coco coir and peat products as these had high demand in the export market.

Resulting from the 1st National Coco Coir Summit in March 2011, coir processing plants started to operate all over the province where baled coir fibers are being produced and sold to institutional buyers and exporters in Davao and Manila.

Davao Oriental Trade and Industry head Belenda Ambi said many family members of the coconut farmers have benefited from the additional value of the said crop. Processed coco coir fibers are made into twines and geo-nets that were exported in China and other countries abroad.

One of the initiatives of DTI Davao Oriental was the Coco Coir Twining Project which served as a convergence of various services needs to complete the entire process of coir processing.

Acting as the consolidator of twine hanks is the Mati Cocofiber Technology (MCT). It then provides coir fibers to two twining communities in Maitom and Calamansi.

These coco fibers or twine hanks are then bought by Regwill Industries Inc. Through the facilitation of DTI, the Regwill Industries provided the needed trainings on hanks twining and weaving to the farmers and their family members.

Seeing the importance of convergence that is initiated by a government office, other communities have started embracing this new livelihood. Data showed that there are already seven twining communities assisted by DTI in the said province. The office has also recorded about 169 coco twine weavers who have alleviated their income from twine weaving.

DTI then reported $2.529 million sales in coco coir and peat production. This contributes as 85 percent of the total $2.975 million export sales for the year.

There are five major industry players in the province that have contributed to the generated export sales of coco value added product. These companies are the Mati Cocofiber Technology, Mati Peat Top Corporation, Fiber Technology Expert, the Yiwu Husk Factory and the Davao Oriental Coco Husk Social Enterprise Inc.

“We are not satisfied yet even if we are tagged as the biggest coco producer in the country. Last year, we strengthened promotion to invite investors to go on value adding of coco,” Ambi said.

DTI revealed six more coco husk processing projects are set to start their operations this year. These are the Althan Coco Fiber and Emerson Lim Coco Coir Processing Plant in Manay, a locally-owned coir and peat processing plant in Baganga, another processing plant in Governor Generoso and two branches of Davao Oriental Coco Husk Social Enterprise Inc in Gov. Generoso and Cateel.

All these new addition in the family of the coco industry are expected to contribute significant increases in the domestic and export sales of coco and its value-added products.

These coco products, being the One-Town-One-Product of Davao Oriental, have found export market through participation in trade fairs. The DTI and the local government both see to it that after products get help in packaging and design development, they are assisted to be matched with buyers and investors. These products are often brought to national trade fairs and exhibits to find bigger opportunity for export market exposure.

Data showed that the industry generated P2.46 million this year from trade fair sales which include cash and booked orders.

Aside from joining trade fairs, the industry members have also enjoyed market matching and linkage activities initiated by DTI.

Last year, the province generated P49.369 million by market matching. It brought 25 new buyer-supplier linkages, which benefitted 16 local MSMEs. They were linked with 21 institutional buyers from Davao, Cebu, and Manila.

With the increasing number of coco-processing plants coming in the province, industry players, together with the local government, are pushed to go full blast in coco production this year.

The provincial government poured in P4 million budget as its support to the coco industry. The money will be used in consolidated projects of other government agencies like the Philippine Coconut Authority and the Department of Labor and Employment that are aimed at uplifting the lives of the coco farmers. (PIA/Mai Gevera-Macapagat)

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