Farmers told to develop export market

File photo
File photo

The first Central Visayas Coconut Summit, which aims to revolutionize the products of local farmers and entrepreneurs and turn them into export quality, was held in Cebu City on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023.

According to Department of Trade and Industry (DTI 7) Director Naneth Arbon, the summit’s overall objective was to promote collaboration among all participants of the coconut industry value chain in the region.

This was also in line with the implementation of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP), a roadmap that seeks to strengthen competitiveness, promote sustainability, and empower the farmers and entrepreneurs and reclaim the country’s status as the top coconut producer globally.

The summit gathered about 200 coconut industry players from Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor, including community-based organization, farmers cooperatives, small farmers association, coconut-based enterprises, and medium, small, and micro entrepreneurs.

It was organized in partnership with the DTI 7 and the Philippine Coconut Authority.

During the summit, farmers and entrepreneurs were encouraged to improve coconut byproducts and not only focus on the production of raw materials to expand their market particularly in export.

Arbon said Central Visayas has around 112,000 hectares of land actively harvesting coconut. This places the region in the 11th rank among the biggest coconut producers in the country in 2022.

The region also has the highest number of coconut farmers organizations and cooperatives in the Philippines and the largest number of coconut farmers and farm workers in the country.

However, the devastation brought by Typhoon Odette in December 2021 has caused a setback in coconut production in 2022, Arbon said, citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The summit aimed not only to help the region’s coconut industry recover but to move it forward, said Arbon.

Biggest exporter

Central Visayas is home to the biggest exporter of activated coconut carbon in the country with the presence of the Cenapro Chemical Corp.in Cebu.

The region also processes various coconut-based food products such as coconut chips, virgin coconut oil, coco sweetener or coco sugar, coconut water, tuba, vinegar, coconut-based pastries and delicacies.

Arbon said one of the strengths of the region is the presence of Profood International Corp., the top coconut food product processor and exporter in the region and one of the bearers of the standard and world-class processed fruit products in the country.

Cebu is also known for the production export quality coconut-based fashion accessories, handicrafts, and novelty items through the Cebu Gifts Toys and Housewares sector.

Arbon said the province also excels in the export of certified organic coconut wrap from Kimes Foods International in Argao, and the Coconut Hub Processing Center or the Coco Hub of Lamac MPC in barangay Colonia, Tuburan.

In Negros Oriental, there are two oil mills in Dumaguete City that process coconut into cooking oil; while another plant in the province processes coconut oil into oleochemicals.

Arbon said the DTI 7 is developing three more coconut seed farms in the region in addition to two existing farms in Ubay (250 hectares) and Loay (two hectares), both in Bohol.

She said two new coconut seed farms will be placed in Cebu; while one will be in Negros Oriental. 

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