THE Department of Agriculture (DA)-Davao encouraged coconut farmers in the region to plant aromatic variety coconuts after China recently opened its market for Philippine coconut products, particularly fresh young coconut or buko.

In the study of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), the variety is called Aromatic Green Dwarf Coconut known for its tender and sweet meat and water. Its buko has become its major use.

"We encouraged the farmers to plant this kind of variety as it has already a market demand. We have farmers who have been planting this kind of variety, that is why we were able to ship from Mindanao. So those who are interested to take advantage of this demand, they can coordinate with the PCA for technical assistance," DA-Davao focal person Noel Provido said in vernacular.

Provido said there were seedlings distributed for free to the different coconut farmers' cooperative in the region in the previous months, while seedlings are also available at PCA for P150 each.

A ceremonial program of the first shipment of fresh young coconuts from a homegrown company Eng Seng Food Products was held Friday, July 26, in Calinan District.

The company, in coordination with the agency and the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), plans to ship 48 tons or 36,000 pieces of aromatic coconuts to Guangzhou and Xiamen, China.

The DA-Davao reported that "it is really the market that dictates the kind of variety needed. We just supply what they demand," Provido said.

In a Facebook post of Agri Info Davao last Wednesday, July 24, 2019, Eng Seng Food Products president John Tan said they want to target around 60 containers of buko weekly. However, due to lack of supply, they decreased it to 15 containers.

With the volume demand for buko, Tan urged coconut farmers to "expand their aromatic variety coconuts as there is a huge market in China due to its distinct taste and aroma."