THE province of Bohol is exploring ways to promote high value-added processing of coconut as a way to address the lower price of copra.
“Governor (Arthur) Yap is very keen on developing the coconut industry in Bohol because he wants to be self-sufficient,” said Engr. Jesus Zamora Jr., officer-in-charge/regional director of the Department of Science and Technology in Central Visayas.
Zamora was one of the guests in the virtual Mugstoria Ta talk show hosted by Assistant Secretary Jonji Gonzales and aired on the Facebook page of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas.
“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,” he said.
Aside from these products, the virgin coconut oil (VCO) is among those under study as possible treatment for coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
According to Zamora, the DOST-Central Visayas is now doing a proposal for the development of the Bohol coconut industry.
“We will be looking for lead researchers to help us develop new products from coconut,” he said, adding they are working on this project with the Provincial Government, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other government institutions.
Due to the very low copra price, the coconut farmers no longer make any profit, Zamora 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.
But instead of Negros Oriental, Zamora said DOST-Central Visayas has shifted to Bohol for the implementation of the Planades settlement model.
Bohol has 104,000 hectares of planted coconut. But 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: Central Visayas Coconut Seed Production Center (CVCSPC) in Calanggaman, Ubay, and the Loay Code Farmer (LCF) 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 or in Eastern Visayas. (PR)