THE Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) said on Sunday that it hopes to build P500 million worth of facilities meant to be shared by coconut cooperatives seeking to upgrade to value-added products.

In a statement, PhilMech Executive Director Dionisio G. Alvindia said the targeted commodities are crude coconut oil, processed coconut oil, virgin coconut oil, desiccated coconut, coconut coir, and coconut sap.

“To qualify, target beneficiaries or project proponents should be duly registered with the Cooperative Development Authority, have more than 100 members, and 5,000 coconuts of daily production,” Mr. Alvindia said in an e-mail.

Calabarzon will receive P58.61 million, followed by Northern Mindanao (P53.84 million), Zamboanga Peninsula (P52.66 million), Davao Region (P51.74 million), and Eastern Visayas (P50.15 million).

The PHilMech said it will also disburse P43.65 million in Bicol Region, P40.84 in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, P32.51 in Soccksargen, and P29.74 in Caraga Region.

Of other regions, coconut cooperatives in Western Visayas will receive P27.13 million, while P25.49 in Mimaropa, and P25.01 in Central Visayas.
Meanwhile, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon have been reported to be allocated P8.63 million each.

“At present, most coconut farmers’ cooperatives are still not capable of producing value-added products, and are mostly engaged in producing copra that are sold to oil millers for the production of coconut oil. Also, the discarded coconut husks or shells are mostly thrown away,” the PHilMech said.

According to Mr. Alvindia, the SPFs will enable coconut farmer cooperatives to produce more coconut oil and copra which can direct supply mills.

Also, coconut coir from discarded husks can be maximized into other products such as geotextiles, mats, ropes, and planting medium.

The establishment of SPS for coconut farmer cooperatives was mandated under the Republic Act 11524 or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act.

The PHilMech shall allocate 10% or P7.5 billion for the program from the P75-billion Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund.

Furthermore, P5 billion each will be released in the first two years under Executive Order No. 172 or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan.

Citing the United States Department of Agriculture, the PHilMech said that the Philippines is a top coconut oil producer and exporter with an output of 1.668 million metric tons.

Also, the country is the top exporter of desiccated coconut with 147,000 MT of the total 438,052 MT global productions in 2020, based on figures from the Department of Trade and Industry.

On the other hand, the PHilMech director added that the agency will also provide three years training for the farmer’s coconut cooperatives to become “viable business enterprises.” — Sheldeen Joy Talavera