MANILA — The Department of Agriculture (DA) launched the Summer Coco Festival to promote the drinking of coconut water as a cool and healthy drink during the hot summer months.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol said the Summer Coco Festival would also boost the earnings of coconut farmers by providing an alternative to the sale of copra, whose price has dropped recently.
Also displayed at the Summer Coco Festival in front of the DA Central Office are high-value products from coconuts, such as coconut syrup, coconut sugar, coconut chips, and coconut virgin oil, among others.
The idea of staging a marketing campaign for the consumption of coconut water and young coconut meat was presented by DA-Caraga Director Abel James Monteagudo.
In his proposal, Monteagudo said that if half of the Philippine population of 108 million would drink a glass of coconut water once a week, this would translate into 2.4 billion young coconuts marketed for a year.
The Summer Coco Festival was held for two days in front of the DA office. This will be followed by a Metro Manila-wide selling operation that would involve poor families, out-of-school youth, and students who would like to earn some extra money this summer.
The coconut industry is beleaguered with low coconut oil prices in the world market, resulting to a drop in copra prices, the main product of the industry, hurting many poor farmers in the countryside.
Piñol said it is going to be a tough task to improve the coconut industry “but if we institute reforms by using our coconut levy to establish village-level processing centers for farmers to produce high-value items rather than copra, the bleak scenario we see now in the coconut industry will change.”
“There is more to coconut than just copra and this administration will see to it that the coconut farmers today will be lifted up to the status of processors and even merchandisers of their products,” he said.
The DA is also launching a marketing campaign with the introduction of coconut oil and other coconut products in the newly-opened Eastern European market, including Russia.
Piñol said he will lead a delegation, including officials of CIIF-OMG, makers of Minola cooking oil, to sign a marketing agreement with the owners of a chain of supermarkets in Eastern Europe. (PNA)