Go beyond copra biz: coco farmer-A A +A
Saturday, August 18, 2012
A COCONUT grower on Tuesday encouraged coco farmers in Davao Region to go beyond the usual copra business and venture on coco sugar and coco syrup as a good alternative to increase family income.
Benjamin Lao, president of the Lao Integrated Farms Inc. (Lifi), during the 25th Southern Mindanao Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (SMARRDEC) anniversary celebration at the University of Southeastern Philippines (Usep), said farmers can earn better by venturing into coco sugar and coco syrup business, considering the growing demand for these products from both local and global markets.
These products can earn farmers between 60 to 70 percent higher than their earnings to copra or dried coconut meat.
He said farmers can collect the coconut toddy or sap in a daily basis to produce those products, which require only about 2 to 10 percent of the coconut.
"Traditionally, the coconut toddy or sap is fermented into 'lambanog' or 'tuba'. But not only wine can be produced but also coconut sap drink, sugar, and honey," he said.
Lao said this new venture can provide farmers a more sustainable source of income since coconut trees produce sap every day, unlike with dried coconut meat that needs at least three months before they can be sold to the market at prices lower than the possible earnings of the farmers from coco sugar and coco syrup.
In his presentation, he reported that coco syrup is pegged between P250 to P280 a liter and coco sugar is at P280 to P320 a kilo in the market.
"The earnings for every kilo of coco syrup and sugar is at P150," he said. Meanwhile, coconut growers can earn an average of P35 a kilo or P95 per tree for every quarter.
For those interested to venture into coconut farming, Lao suggested Mawa and Aromatic, two dwarf varieties of coconut that can produce toddy an average of four liters day.
Both products, Lao said, are also beneficial to the health of the consumers, especially for diabetic patients because of its high nutritional value and low glycemic content (GI).
The mineral content of coco sugar and syrup include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, chlorine, sulphur, boron, zinc, and manganese. Also, these natural products only have 35 to 54 (GI), which is classified as low compared to brown sugar with GI of 65 to 100.
He said these products can reduce the risk of heart disease and prostate problem, improve blood circulation, and help refuel carbohydrate after exercise.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 19, 2012.