ASIDE from bananas, the other popular commodities that Davao Region is known for are coconut by-products.

Demand for coconut by-products has grown especially in countries, where the people are very particular about their health and cosmetics.

On the sidelines of the Taiwan Trade Mission 2018 held at Marco Polo last Thursday, March 22, Manila Economic and Cultural Office (Meco) assistant corporate secretary and executive officer attorney Arthur Abiera, Jr. said during the recent runs of their trade mission that coconut by-products are the commodities that the attendees are generally interested in.

These by-products include coconut oil, desiccated coconut, coconut sugar, and coconut flour.

In 2016, the total export of coconut oil reached $17.86 million contribution to about 2.82 percent of the total exports of Davao Region. Desiccated coconuts, on the other hand, was able to generate a total of $15.25 million.

Most of these commodities are exported to Japan, China, the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, United States, and Korea. In countries like South Korea and other countries in Europe, the export of virgin coconut oil (VCO) is especially in demand especially that it is a vital ingredient to be used for their cosmetic items.

In an earlier interview, Davao Inventor’s Association (DIA) president Virgilio Sangutan said the South Korean investors were interested to purchase four to six 20-footer container vans of virgin coconut oil from Davao Region monthly.

Sangutan said these Koreans had previously been importing VCO from other parts of the Philippines however some of their sources fail to pass their standard made also be the very cold temperature in Korea causing the product to solidify faster.

Since Davao Region had higher coconut production compared to other parts of the country, they made the transaction here.

Recognizing this huge VCO export potential, the Cocolife Multipurpose Cooperative (CMC) expanded their plant through additional equipment for VCO processing.

“The demand of VCO had increased especially those from other countries that buy in bulk. With the machine from Philmec, we can increase up to 6,000 liters a month,” said CMC member of the board Edwin Ceniza.

If they can acquire additional machineries for the full VCO processing operation through their request to the Department of Agriculture, they can already generate about 20,000 liters per month.

According to Davao Region Coconut Industry Cluster, Inc. executive director Migdonio Clamor, Jr. this expansion is indeed brought about by the increasing demand of VCO in importing countries followed by their respective thriving cosmetic industries such as Japan, Korea, and other countries in Europe.

Just November of last year, it was reported how the demand for export-quality coconut water starts to increase as well. During the 2nd International Coconut Conference held at SMX Convention Center last November 7, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) administrator Romulo dela Rosa urged coconut farmers to develop other by-products to expand the export market.

“A little over 10 years ago, fresh coconut water became a popular beverage. The taste for coconut water picked up so fast that the global market grown. Over the last five years alone, the total global world market grew by about 400 percent to $20.2 billion in 2016 from $530 million in 2011,” said dela Rosa.

Indeed, coconut by-products from Davao Region are making a name in the export industry, and not only the Cavendish bananas. The PCA continues to improve the industry with replanting plans specifically about 1.4 million trees to be planted in the region in 2018 alone. (JPA)