The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) 13 (Caraga) is pushing for an increase in the domestic use of coconut products to help coconut farmers affected by the health crisis.
PCA-13 Manager Joel B. Oclarit told the Philippine News Agency on Tuesday that aside from raising the income of the region’s coconut farmers, the production of coconut-based products, such as virgin coconut oil (VCO) and coco ethyl alcohol, would complement the continuing fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“The push for the increase in the utilization of coco-based products (is) in line with the directive of the agency, in the celebration of the 34th National Coconut Month, and the continuing support of the PCA to the concerted efforts of all government agencies and private groups in the fight against Covid-19,” Oclarit said.
PCA-13 marked the 34th National Coconut Month on Monday, which was graced by Department of Agriculture 13 Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo and officials of other line agencies of the government.
Oclarit said they have been working with local government units in conducting home-based training on making VCO among coconut farmers.
PCA-13 records show that more than 113,000 coconut farmers tend to 272,093 hectares planted with coconut trees in 1,311 barangays, mostly in Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.
He said the proposal to establish two mini coco distillation plants that would produce coco ethyl alcohol in Caraga has already been approved by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).
Construction is expected to begin this year at the proposed sites in Mat-i, Surigao City, and Sibagat, Agusan del Sur, Oclarit said.
“Each of these proposed mini distillation plants has the capacity to process 250 liters of coconut wine per day to manufacture coco ethyl alcohol,” he said.
During Monday’s event, Monteagudo and Department of Trade and Industry 13 Director Gay Tidalgo led the relaunch of the Coco Bazaar and the Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita store at the PCA-13 office.
The Kadiwa store features coconut-based products from various coconut farmers’ organizations in the region. (PNA)