Firm produces coconut sugar-A A +A
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
THE coconut business is not all about copra. Benjamin Lao proved this when he produced coconut sugar, coconut syrup, cacao with coconut sugar, ginger brew or salabat, sweet and spicy seasoning and many others.
Lao’s business started when he inherited five hectares of land in Barangay Eman, Bansalan, Davao del Sur from his parents. He said he realized then that not only did he inherit land, he also inherited his parents’ passion for farming. While Lao worked in government, he spent his weekends developing the farm two hours away from Davao City where he works.
At first the coconut farm only yielded 300 to 400 coconuts per quarter. After extensively researching on farming he learned that planting nitrogen-fixing legumes is a good form of fertilizer. His coconut harvest improved to 15,000 nuts per quarter.
Lao, the 2005 awardee for most outstanding farmer in Davao del Sur, then launched the Lao Integrated Farms Inc. that also ventured in goat and hog raising.
This also marked an increase in the production of coconut-based products, particularly the sweetener under the product name Donnabelle.
He said coconut sugar and syrup are more tolerable for people with diabetes.
While Lao’s market is largely based in Davao, the coconut products are slowly making their way to Cebu particularly in stores catering to health-conscious individuals. The products are available in Oats and Berries at Robinson’s Cybergate, Tindahang Pinoy, Wellnessland, Librando BioMedical Clinic, SugarFree Haven, BHMC, Pardis Chiropractic Clinic at Ayala Center Cebu, Hmart, Fair Trade, Fooda Saver’s Mart.
The products will also be available in selected pharmacies in Cebu.
Last April, Lao opened his satellite office on F. Llamas St., Cebu City, managed by Lilah Marie Gatchalian, in connection with its goal of expanding in the area through more dealership. (PR)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 27, 2012.