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MANILA – The Philippine coconut industry has more than enough untapped capacity to meet the anticipated growth in demand for virgin coconut oil (VCO) which has shown to prevent the progression or severity of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), according to industry players. 
The United Coconut Associations of the Philippines (UCAP) and VCO Producers and Traders Association of the Philippines are encouraging government agencies like the health department to support and promote Covid-19 natural alternative options.
UCAP executive director Yvonne Agustin said coconut oils and their inherent medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) properties have long been recognized for their antiviral action.
“Many who tested Covid-19 positive have recovered rapidly by incorporating coconut oil into their daily diet while those who are taking it as a supplement have seen their immunity strengthened,” she said in a statement.
Marco Reyes, president of the VCO Producers and Traders Association of the Philippines, said VCO is an age old daily diet not only of Filipinos, but in other tropical countries in Asia, the Caribbean and Pacific Islands and Africa.
Agustin said the country still has more than enough supply of VCO even amid a noted increase in demand during this pandemic. 
UCAP and VCO Philippines data indicated that only 30 percent of the current 73,000 metric ton capacity is being utilized. 
Local sales and export of VCO notched north of 20,000 metric tons in 2019.
The current local market consumes about 470 metric tons of VCO as of 2019 data. 
With renewed public interest in VCO, MCT and other coconut oils’ alternative health benefits, stakeholders are seeing a 20-percent growth in the demand by 2021. 
A Department of Science and Technology-led community-based study "Effects of Virgin Coconut Oil among Suspect and Probable Cases of Covid-19" showed that VCO could prevent the progression or severity of the disease.
Agustin lauded the DOST’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute result as positive proof to these claims. (PR)