Global trends fuel new coconut business opportunities for Filipinos

MANILA The United Coconut Association of the Philippines (UCAP) is urging Filipinos to seize business opportunities from rising global demand for value-added coconut products like flour and sugar.

The Philippines is among the world's top producers and exporters of raw coconut but has not yet fully tapped the product's full potential to rake in additional revenues, noted UCAP Chairperson Dean Lao Jr. in a press briefing on Monday. "Much value-adding is done overseas. What we want is to bring this to the Philippines, which can offer more than just crude coconut oil."

Four global trends are fanning the demand for value-added coconut products, noted UCAP Vice-Chairperson Marco Reyes.

Such trends, he cited, are rising consumer interest in health and wellness, increasing population of the aging, emergence of the green movement, and the onset of the information revolution.

"The world is changing and we're correspondingly seeing an exponential increase in demand for value-added coconut products," Reyes said.

Although UCAP does not have data yet on the actual global demand for value-added coconut products and the Philippines' market share on these products, Reyes is bullish about the prospects, as he noted studies showing coconut and its value-added products are increasingly known as natural alternatives for health and wellness.

He said studies have shown that coconut consumption helps address aging-related conditions like failing memory.

"In line with the green movement, developed nations are looking for products which are organic, sustainable, and renewable," he said.

One such product, he cited, is biofuel, which is a blend of coco methyl ester and diesel fuel.

Biofuel, he stressed, enhances vehicle performance and helps reduce dirty emissions.

He added the emergence of online selling platforms due to technological advances has further opened up opportunities for trading value-added coconut products.

UCAP is inviting the public to attend the Aug. 14-16 National Coconut Week (NCW) celebration in Metro Manila to learn about the coconut and the value-adding opportunities from this crop.

The 1st World Coconut Congress will also be held during the week-long celebration of the so-called "tree of life".

"There'll be six sessions with the finale being on health and wellness," UCAP Executive Director Yvonne Agustin said at the Monday press conference.

About 20 experts on coconut and various aspects of this crop's production are expected at the event, Agustin said.

The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) is supporting the WCC and UCAP's call for value-adding.

"We want to increase coconut's contribution to the economy and the way to do this is through value-adding," PCA market research and promotion chief Rose Villaruel said at the press conference.

Villaruel said the 2018 NCW celebration will feature discussions on business opportunities from coconut husks, noting these are minimally used as an economic resource at present.

Discussions at this year's NCW will also tackle integrated pest management, she added.

Both WCC and NCW will be anchored on the theme "The time is now", signifying the call for action to bolster the local coconut industry.

NCW celebration is mandated under Proclamation 142 series of 1987, the PCA said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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