VCO PLANT. The newly-completed PHP17-million virgin coconut oil plant is turned over by Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) administrator Benjamin Madrigal Jr. (right) on Wednesday (Aug. 24, 2022) in Barangay Libas of Jabonga town in Agusan del Norte Province. Madrigal is joined by Jabonga Mayor Napoleon Montero (left), PCA-13 Regional Manager Joel Oclarit, and Agusan del Norte Governor Ma. Angelica Rosedell Amante. (PNA photo by Alexander Lopez)

JABONGA, Agusan del Norte – Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Administrator Benjamin Madrigal Jr., led Wednesday the handing over of the PHP17-million virgin coconut oil (VCO) plant in Barangay Libas here that is expected to benefit coconut farmers including from neighboring areas in the Caraga Region.

The plant, constructed amidst the pandemic in May 2021, was received by the 147-strong Libas Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LFMPC), which will manage and operate the VCO plant.

“We are so happy that finally the plant is handed over to us. Now we can start its full operations,” said Rebecca Felix, the chairperson of LFMPC in an interview at the sideline of the ceremony.

The VCO plant has a capacity of processing some 10,000 coconuts per day and can produce around 867 liters of VCO daily.

Aside from VCO, Felix said the plant will also produce coco juice, soy sauce, and vinegar made from coconuts.

“This plant will serve, not only the coconut farmers from Agusan del Norte, but also in other provinces in the region,” she said.

Market outlets were earlier established by the cooperative in the different towns of Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Sur, and even in Bohol province.

Coconuts for processing will be supplied not only by its members, but also by other coconut farmers and organizations in Agusan del Norte and the nearby provinces.

The PCA in the Caraga Region (PCA-13), together with the Jabonga town government, will monitor the operations of the plant.

 PCA-13 Manager Joel Oclarit said the project was funded through Republic Act 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

 “Since its groundbreaking in May last year, our office has been monitoring the developments of the construction of the plant,” Oclarit said. (PNA)