ADDITIONAL equipment for virgin coconut oil (VCO) processing is one of the main expansion advancements of the Cocolife Multipurpose Cooperative (CMC) based in Pantukan, Compostela Valley.
CMC member of the board of directors Edwin Ceniza said the P5 million worth of equipment granted by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (Philmec), under the Department of Agriculture (DA), will be turned over to their cooperative by the last week of November.
On top of these machineries from Philmec, Ceniza said they have acquired three machines for the production of VCO from the cooperative's own capacities. Currently, with these existing machines they are able to produce 3,000 liters of VCO per month. About 14 nuts are needed to produce a liter of VCO.
"The demand of VCO had increased especially those from other countries that buy in bulk. With the machine (from Philmec), we can increase up to 6,000 liters a month," said Ceniza adding that with the arrival of the new equipment, they have already prepared a new building in Pantukan to house it.
Their existing machines include two centrifuge machines and a filter machine, the same equipment that they expect to come from Philmec as well.
He said they have also submitted a proposal to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) requesting for additional equipment which the cooperative will pay in long-term and without interest. Ceniza said they are still waiting for PCA's approval.
"If we can acquire the additional machineries for the full operation, we can generate P20,000 liters of VCO per month," he said.
What they target is a full operation process from coconut to bottled VCO. With PCA's approval of their proposed six more machines, they hope to be able to answer the growing export demand of VCO.
In an earlier interview with Davao Region Coconut Industry Cluster, Inc. executive director Migdonio Clamor, Jr. the expansion was brought about by the increasing demand of VCO in Japan and Korea, as well as other countries in Europe. He said this is because of the thriving cosmetics industry of the receiving countries.
CMC was first established in 2006 and according to Ceniza, they had since been assisted by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Science and Technology in production of other coconut by-products aside from VCO.