Davao firm starts shipping fresh young coconut to China

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Eng Seng Food Products President John Tan -- @DAREGION11

DAVAO-BASED Eng Seng Food Products has started exporting fresh young coconut to China and wants to tap more farmers to meet the demand.

“We want to target 60 containers weekly, but due to lack of supply, we decreased it to only 15 containers,” Eng Seng Food Products President John Tan said in a statement released by the Department of Agriculture-Region 11 (DA-11).

The company, in coordination with DA-11 and the Bureau of Plant Industry, shipped 48 tons or 36,000 pieces of young aromatic coconut to Guangzhou and Xiamen in southern China last week.

“The shipment was made possible after the signing of a contract with a China-based company, the China Artex Corp.” of Fujian province, Mr. Tan said.

The shipments complies with the Chinese government’s import protocols, which allow the entry of Philippine coconut from Mindanao and Leyte.

In April, President Rodrigo R. Duterte witnessed the contract signing between the two parties during the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. The contract covers a one-year supply of 64.5 million metric tons of young coconut.

Mr. Tan said DA-11 will help establish links with coconut farmers, and his company is interested in forging long-term marketing agreements with them.

The Philippine Coconut Authority has also committed to provide seedlings and technical assistance to interested farmers.

Provincial Agriculturist Rotchie M. Ravelo of Davao Oriental, the biggest coconut producer in the Davao Region, said in an interview last month that farmers there are awaiting the specifics of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA’s) new policy of opening up foreign markets for young coconut, which is used in juice production. Older coconut is reserved for oil extraction.

He said coconut farmers are eager to diversify into young coconut exports, especially with the decline in the price of copra, the main ingredient in coconut oil. — with Maya M. Padillo