BOHOL Province is exploring ways to promote high value-added processing of coconut as a way to address the lower price of copra.

Jesus Zamora Jr., Department of Science and Technology Central Visayas (DOST 7) director, said Bohol Provincial Governor Arthur Yap is “very keen” on developing the coconut industry in Bohol as he wants the Province to be self-sufficient.

During an online talk show aired on the official Facebook page of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Zamora said: “We should start with the basics. We should be self-sufficient. If another pandemic would hit us, I think we can produce our own products like soap, oil, vinegar and other products that can be developed from coconut.”

Aside from these products, the virgin coconut oil (VCO) is among those being studied for possible use as a treatment for Covid-19.

Zamora said the DOST 7 is now working on a proposal for the development of the Bohol coconut industry.

He said they will be looking for lead researchers to help them develop new products from coconut.

He added that they are working on this project with the provincial government, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other government institutions.

Due to the low price of copra, coconut farmers no longer make any profit, he said.

The proposed coconut development of Bohol is part of the implementation of the DOST-UP Planning and Development Research Foundation Inc. (Planades) Settlement Model Training Module, which will initially be given to 20 identified growth areas.

Planades had identified five growth areas in the Visayas–Cebu, Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Leyte and Negros Oriental. The model targets local government planners to help them project growth in their area.

However, instead of Negros Oriental, Zamora said the DOST 7 has shifted to Bohol for the implementation of the Planades settlement model.

Bohol has 104,000 hectares of planted coconut. However, the province continues to increase areas planted with coconut due to the re-planting program.

The PCA is pushing for the continued re-planting program of coconut.

There are two coconut nurseries in Bohol, namely: the Central Visayas Coconut Seed Production Center in Calanggaman, Ubay and the Loay Code Farmer in La Salinas, Loay.

These nurseries produce the hybrid and dwarf varieties of coconut seedlings, which are ready to be planted in the re-planting program.

The program includes the participatory coconut planting, coconut seedling dispersal and accelerated coconut planting and rehabilitation programs.

The two nurseries are not only supplying the needed coconut seedlings in Central Visayas but also in Tacloban and Leyte areas in Region 8. (WBS with PR)