PCA eyes geotextile market for Zamboanga

Posted on April 28, 2014

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The region’s coconut industry needs a sure market once it starts commercial production of geotextile.

Ralph S. Hamoy, manager of the Philippine Coconut Authority in the region (PCA-9), said that by the end of the year, the agency will have equipment that can be introduced to local entrepreneurs, to eventually produce geotextile in commercial quantities.

Geotextile made from coconut fiber has environmental and construction industry applications.

However, Mr. Hamoy said that even the regional office of the Department of Public Works and Highways, which uses geotextile, has not expressed interest in sourcing it from here and is instead buying from suppliers in Caraga Region.

PCA-9 is currently coordinating with the Department of Trade and Industry as well as the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) in promoting geotextile, not only to local entrepreneurs but to prospective buyers as well.

“Technology is available; the only problem now is a committed market,” said Mahmud L. Kingking, DoST assistant regional director.

“There should be a strong advocacy for local entrepreneurs to produce coconut fiber,” Mr. Kingking added.

Meanwhile, Celedonia R. Palomar, PCA-9 chief for technical services division, said that the Brontispa longissima or coconut leaf beetle infestation of coconut trees in the region has been contained.

Earlier reports noted that hundreds of hectares of coconut farms in the region have been infested with coconut leaf beetle.

“On the other hand, coconut scale insects [have continued] to infest coconut trees in Basilan since 2009,” Ms. Palomar said.

But, control measures have been adopted by the regional office, she added. “As additional assistance to control pests, PCA-9 has deployed trainees and PCA employees to help the farmers.” -- Karel B. Mellanes