Freshly harvested young coconut. The Philippine Coconut Authority in Eastern Visayas is asking government agencies and local governments to promote the consumption of buko (young coconut) juice to raise the income of farmers. (Photo by Sarwell Meniano)
PALO, Leyte --The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in Eastern Visayas is asking government agencies and local governments to promote the consumption of buko (young coconut) juice to raise the income of farmers affected by the steadily declining copra price.
PCA Regional Manager Jeffrey delos Reyes said that if half of the region’s more than four million population will drink buko juice daily, the region’s coconut farmers will earn an additional PHP20 million every day.
Young coconut is bought at PHP10 per piece in farms and marketed by vendors at PHP20 to PHP25 per piece.
“Our call to government officials is to serve coconut water in all our activities instead of soda drinks to support our local coconut industry. Let us be ambassadors of the coconut sector,” delos Reyes told reporters.
PCA pushed for the promotion of young coconut as copra farm gate price plunged to PHP11 per kilogram this week from PHP21 in the same period last year.
The government has no control on the fluctuating copra price since it is dictated by the global oil market dominated by palm oil and soybean oil with a share of 35 percent and 26 percent, respectively.
The copra price drop has been affecting 367,234 coconut farmers in the Eastern Visayas region. It is estimated that 1.83 million people or nearly half of the region’s 4.4 million population are dependent on coconut.
Copra is the dried meat or kernel of the coconut wherein premium oil is extracted. It also yields coconut cake after oil extraction, which is mainly used as feeds for livestock.
“Since coconut is considered as a tree of life, we want to send a message to our farmers that there is more money from coconut other than copra production,” delos Reyes said.
The official urged local government units to help organize coconut farmers and facilitate the trading of their products in commercial centers.
In the National Capital Region, the Metro Manila Development Authority committed to support the initiative of the Department of Agriculture to market fresh young coconuts using multi-cabs or small trucks in populated areas where the demand for coconut water is high.
Coconut water known as buko juice is the liquid endosperm obtained from a young coconut which is pure and nutritious natural beverage. The sterile water, which is approximately 200 – 750 ml, is enclosed with a hard shell and a well-lined layer of coconut meat.
The natural drink is high in ionic nutrients (electrolytes) such as potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphorus and sulfur. It also contains sugar, in the form of glucose and fructose, Vitamin C, Vitamin B group and amino acids such as glutamic acid, arginine, aspartic acid, and leucine.
Among the benefits of buko juice is lowered risk of heart attacks, increase metabolic rate, help in dissolving kidney stones, prevents muscle cramps, and an effective diuretic. (PNA)