Hidalgo: Coconut, a tree of life

Citizen Fe

IT IS common knowledge to many of us that the coconut has a lot of uses. It provides many necessities that we may be looking for.

Its fruit is a meal in itself with the coconut milk and meat enough to keep us full. A mature coconut fruit is also the source of the coconut oil. Meanwhile, the leaves, bark, roots, and coconut shell can be used to make a variety of products like timber, mats, and utensils, among others.

Coconut trees may also contribute in the prevention of soil erosion in coastal areas and may provide wind protection and shade of intercropped plants.

In the Philippines, the coconut is among the major crops of the agriculture industry. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that coconut-based products were among the top exported products of the country in 2017. Coconut oil was the top agricultural product of the Philippines in 2017 with an export value of US$1.6 billion. Desiccated coconut is also a top export commodity with an export value of $340 million

Copra or dried coconut meat are among the common products we get from the coconut. It has high oil content at almost 64 percent. The coconut oil that we get from the meat is the most readily digested among all fats of general use.

However, it can be noted that income from coconut oil diminished with stiff competition from other oil sources.

For our coconut farmers to be competitive in the market, there is a need for us to think outside the box.

According to the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) when we work on the highest values and benefits of this crop, it will increase the demand for it. The attached agency of the Department of Scient and Technology (DOST) has a compendium of Commercially-Viable Coconut Technologies that can help coconut farmer value-add their products.

Among the value-added products in the compendium is the “coco sugar”. The production of sugar, a high-value product from coconut sap/toddy is used as the natural sweetener for diabetics due to its low Glycemic Index of 35 (GI) far. Coco sugar is rich in phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and chlorine.

Another product from the compendium is the coconut water, a common value-added product from coconut. It provides enhanced hydration, essential nutrition, and essential electrolytes -- calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium. It is an ideal sports drink. Diabetics can also benefit from drinking coconut water. Coco water contains antioxidants as well. All these discoveries are worth looking into for further benefits to maintain health of the human body organs.


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