LAOAG CITY – Bright prospects are expected for coconut farmers and artisans in the coastal town of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte with the establishment of a coconut processing facility here.
Engineer Rose Anne Cabaloan, head of the Philippine Coconut Authority in Ilocos Norte, told journalists Thursday that the facility will be formally awarded to the Del Mar Shellcraft Multipurpose Cooperative on Friday, in a ceremony at the Ilocos Norte Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Center here.
Cabaloan said the facility will host several machines and equipment that will process products like cooking oil and all-natural virgin coconut oil.
Aside from oil, the Pagudpud cooperative is also actively engaged in the production, processing and marketing of household essentials and novelty items from coconut like mugs, coco kubyertos (utensils), coco bowls and coco peat.
“The establishment of the processing center will enable the coconut farmers to access new markets and improve their livelihood,” she said.
In a separate interview, Pagudpud town mayor Rafael Ralph Benemerito said he is beyond grateful for the realization of the project since this has been a long-time dream of his constituents to revitalize the coconut industry.
“The facility will surely benefit our farmers and it will further inspire our craft makers to make good of what they have started,” he said.
The PCA has partnered with the Small Coconut Farmers Organization in Pagudpud for the development of a 50-hectare coconut hybrid plantation to ensure sufficient supply of coconut for processing in the future.
The hybrid coconut could yield up to 300 nuts per year by augmenting hybrid technology with good agricultural practices.
A nursery is in place in Barangay Caparispisan where coconut farmers get their seedlings to be planted in the different villages.
Demand for coconut products has been attributed to the versatile nature of the plant, dubbed the “tree of life”, since every part, from roots to tip, has practical uses. (PNA)