NORTHERN Mindanao’s sugar production may get a boost after the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Misamis Oriental introduced a modernized facility to enhance productivity of coconut sugar in the province and in Cagayan de Oro on January 10.

Judy M. Aclan, DTI-Misor-Business Development Division’s senior trade and industry development specialist, said the facility will consist of a spray dryer, an equipment that is still under study if viable to local coco sugar producers.

Aclan said the city is the pilot area for testing due to its high output of coconuts and history of low incidence of typhoons.

“But we’re still at the research and development stage. We want to determine the effectiveness of Ohkawara Kakohki spray dryers in producing sap sugar of acceptable quality among coconut sap sugar producers and cooperatives in the Philippines, as a means of increasing their output’s value,” Aclan told reporters.

The project is pushed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) under its new type of official development assistance (ODA) approach since last year, in which Japanese Small and Medium-sized Entrepreneurs (SMEs) conducted feasibility study under Japan’s ODA with a vision to utilize their products and technologies for the social economic development emerging countries.

The machine, a Japanese invention, is scheduled for study in the Philippines in due course particularly concerning increasing productivity of coconut sugar production in Cagayan de Oro.

Takuya Hayashi, a senior staff at International Business Department of Ohkawara Kakohki Co., Ltd., said the P1.3-million equipment can produce up to three kilos of coco sugar per hour.

“This is only small-sized (machine) because this is experimental only. But in industrial machine, it can produce six to 10,000 kilos per hour, the big one, which is 10-meter industrial scale,” Hayashi said.

Hayashi said if the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) “accepts the machine, we will come back with the big one.”

Aclan said after the introduction of the equipment to local producers, the DTI would assist them to access the manufacturing company.

She said the trade department would also help in preparing a proposal that will be submitted to concerned government agencies for funding.

Aclan hopes the facility could be good for community-based enterprise that benefits the farmers and not on expensive investment.

Coco sugar is a high-end produce out of coconut sap sugar that is popular abroad as foreigners are getting health-conscious.

Coco sugar, according to study, is even good for people who have diabetes.