CEBU CITY – The province of Bohol is exploring ways to promote higher value-added processing of coconut as a way to address the lower price of copra.
Engr. Jesus Zamora Jr., regional director of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Central Visayas, announced on Monday the interest of Governor Arthur Yap in developing the coconut industry in Bohol to make it self-sufficient.
“We should start with the basics. We should be self-sufficient. If another pandemic would hit us, I think we can produce our own products like soap, oil, vinegar, and other products that can be developed from coconut,” Zamora said during a virtual talk show by the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas.
Aside from these products, the virgin coconut oil is among those under study as possible use as a treatment for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Zamora said the DOST-7 is now doing a proposal for the development of the Bohol coconut industry.
“We will be looking for lead researchers to help us develop new products from coconut,” he added.
The DOST-7 is working on this project with the provincial government, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and other government institutions.
Zamora said that due to the “very low” copra price, coconut farmers no longer make any profit.
The proposed coconut industry development in Bohol is part of the implementation of the DOST-UP Planning and Development Research Foundation Inc. (PLANADES) Settlement Model Training Module, which will initially be given to 20 identified growth areas.
PLANADES had identified five growth areas in the Visayas — Cebu, Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Leyte and Negros Oriental.
The model targets local government planners to help them project growth in their area.
However, instead of Negros Oriental, Zamora said DOST-7 has shifted to Bohol for the implementation of the PLANADES settlement model.
Bohol has 104,000 hectares of planted coconut. However, the province continues to increase areas planted with coconut due to the replanting program.
The PCA is pushing for the continued replanting program of coconut.
There are two coconut nurseries in Bohol namely: Central Visayas Coconut Seed Production Center (CVCSPC) in Calanggaman, Ubay, and the Loay Code Farmer (LCF) in La Salinas, Loay.
These nurseries produce the hybrid and dwarf varieties of coconut seedlings, which are ready to be planted in the replanting program.
The program includes the participatory coconut planting, coconut seedling dispersal, and accelerated coconut planting and rehabilitation programs.
The two nurseries are not only supplying the needed coconut seedlings in Central Visayas, but also in Tacloban and Leyte areas or in Region 8. (PNA)