Learning exchange opens alternatives to coconut farmers
The Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) spearheaded a learning exchange in Quezon province last August 30 and 31 for coconut players to discover alternative products to market aside from copra that is suffering from low farm gate prices.
Ten participants from the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Zamboanga del Norte, and Padre Burgos in Quezon visited virgin coconut oil fermentation facilities in Tayabas, Quezon of Green Life Coconut Product Philippines Inc. and coco sap farm in Candelaria, Quezon of Coco Deli.
The participants were shown various ways of creating coco-based products such as virgin coconut oil (VCO), vinegar, coconut wine (tuba), and coco sugar that can boost income for farmers and other players in the industry.
One of the participants, Henry Mayormita, production coordinator of Laak Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LAMPCO) in Compostela Valley, said he believes that his cooperative can replicate some of the practices they learned from the learning exchange like the village-level VCO processing.
"Napakaproductive ng aming pagbisita dahil marami kaming nakuhang ideas sa kanila. Mahalaga na makapag-initiate na kami sa aming area ng mga practice na ganito. Sana masimulan na namin."
Another participant, Cocolink Executive Director Dondon Clamor, emphasized that the coconut sector must shift into making coco-based products with readily available markets.
"Nung pumunta nga kami sa World Coconut Congress (last August 27-29), marami ng mga emerging products (na pwedeng gawin) like healthy oils," he said.
Coinciding with the celebration of National Coconut Week, the learning exchange brought collaboration opportunities for coco-based farming social enterprises across the value chain.
Check out other stories about coconut projects of PEF here: C5 Coconut