DA to pilot test community level coco water processing in Camarines Sur
You walk into a local store for your usual energy fix. There, alongside popular brands, you find bottles of freshly-harvested “buko juice” being sold as a health drink. But the bigger pleasant surprise is that farmers in your area actually produced it.
Officials of the Department of Agriculture said this possibility is not far-fetched as the agency recently teamed up with the provincial government of Camarines Sur and Central Bicol State University of Agriculture to pilot test the commercial viability of community-level coco water production using the technology developed by DA-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization.
The extensive study – to be carried out for a period of one year under the soon-to-commence Philippine Rural Development Project with a budget of P7.3 million – aims to come up with product and machine protocols that will serve as basis for the technology’s commercialization nationwide.
It also hopes to initiate supply chain linkages between coco water consolidators and possible small-scale processors.
“Indeed, we are on-track to creating a sustainable and stable source of livelihood and income for thousands of Filipino coconut farmers,” said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala. “By finding an industrial application to a by-product used to be thrown away as waste, we create new rural-based enterprises and possibilities towards progress,” he added.
The DA chief signed last week (3 October 2014) a memorandum of agreement with Governor Miguel Luis Villafuerte and CBSUA President Georgina Bordado to carry out the initiative entitled, “Cocowater Processing Technology Pilot Testing and Business Incubation Project,” during the Asenso Partners Farmers Congress of the Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative at CamSur Watersports Complex Hall in Pili.
Other signatories were DA Regional Field Unit 5 Dir. Abelardo Bragas, PhilMech Dir. Rex Bingabing and DA-PRDP Director Shandy Hubilla.
As part of the agreement, DA-PhilMech will procure the components of the equipment and facilitate its assembly and installation at the DA's regional office Bicol in Pili.
The newly-designed equipment allows hygienic extraction, storage and chilling of coco water, according to PhilMech. With a capacity of around two thousand mature coconuts per day, equivalent to more or less 600 liters of coco water daily, the set-up is compact and portable enough to be transported and installed anywhere in the country, according to PhilMech.
PhilMech also takes care of the training and technical aspect of the project.