Manila Bulletin

Co­conut farm­ers form coop to build pro­cess­ing plant in San Juan, Batan­gas

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A group of co­conut farm­ers in San Juan, Batan­gas has formed a co­op­er­a­tive to build a 91-mil­lion co­conut pro­cess­ing plant un­der a public-pri­vate part­ner­ship model in­tended to turn out prod­ucts for ex­ports, in­crease their in­comes, and re­plant seedlings to re­place old co­conut trees.

Pro­po­nents hope to en­lists 3,500 farm­ers as coop mem­bers. So far about 300 have signed up.

The pro­ject is sup­ported by the Philip­pine Co­conut Au­thor­ity (PCA) which has com­mit­ted to do­nate a 30-mil­lion pro­cess­ing plant, ac­cord­ing to Cris­tanto Gual­berto II, Gen­eral Man­ager of the San Juan Co­conut Pro­duc­ers & Pro­cess­ing Co­op­er­a­tive (SJCPPC).

A mem­o­ran­dum of agree­ment was signed be­tween the PCA and co­op­er­a­tive of­fi­cials last Au­gust 27, 2015 at Mega­mall, Man­daluy­ong City dur­ing the Co­conut Week Cel­e­bra­tion.

The to­tal pro­ject’s cap­i­tal cost re­quire­ments are to be raised from eq­uity of co­conut farm­ers/coop mem­bers ( 23.15 mil­lion or 25.5 per­cent); PCA grant for pro­cess­ing plant ( 30 mil­lion or 30 per­cent); and loans and in­vest­ments ( 37.67 mil­lion or 41 per­cent).

A num­ber of non-gov­ern­ment pro­fes­sional or­ga­ni­za­tions has likely com­mit­ted to lend man­age­ment knowhow and ex­per­tise to make the plant’s op­er­a­tion suc­cess­ful. They are UPLB Pre­lude Alumni Vol­un­teers As­so­ci­a­tion, Asian Sol­i­dar­ity Coun­cil, Kasama Ka Or­ganik Ko­op­er­a­tiv, and Life Learn­ing Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Peace Foun­da­tion.

Gual­berto said the pro­posed pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity is de­signed to process 20,000 nuts at two shifts a day, a vol­ume that is less than 11.5 per­cent of the to­tal co­conut pro­duc­tion of the town. It will have a daily out­put of 1,430 liters of vir­gin co­conut oil (VCO) which will be ex­ported to a com­mit­ted buyer in Ja­pan. This part­ner Ja­panese com­pany re­port­edly has a stand­ing of­fer to buy the plant’s 20 met­ric ton VCO out­put per month. At the same, the plant will have a pro­cess­ing by-prod­ucts of in­clude coco wa­ter, co­conut shell par­ing cake and par­ing oil, and coco flour and co­conut char­coal which have ready mar­kets..

Thou­sands of co­conut farm­ers who are coop mem­bers will im­me­di­ately en­joy in­creased in­come once the pro­cess­ing plant comes into op­er­a­tion be­cause the coop will buy de­husked co­conuts a 7 per price, around 30-40 per­cent higher than the prices paid by pri­vate traders are present. Farm­ers will also be taught in­ter­crop­ping/mul­ti­ple crop­ping as well as live­stock rais­ing to max­i­mize their in­comes. Farm­ers in­comes are pro­jected to in­crease by 3-4 times their present earn­ings.

He said that all stake­hold­ers in the pro­ject (co­conut farm­ers, co­pra pro­ces­sors, traders, ex­porters, ser­vice providers and end-users) will be hor­i­zon­tally in­te­grated and their ac­tiv­i­ties co­or­di­nated to im­prove the pro­ject’s com­pet­i­tive­ness by en­sur­ing ef­fi­ciency.

Gual­berto said the co­op­er­a­tive will en­ter into a ser­vice agree­ment with a pro­fes­sional man­age­ment team (PMT) whose mem­bers come from the pro­fes­sion­als help­ing the coop.

The co­op­er­a­tive will be run as a “so­cial en­ter­prise,” Gual­berto, who has ex­ten­sive busi­ness ex­pe­ri­ence in man­ag­ing co­conut farm and run­ning a VCO plant in Min­danao, has been en­dorsed by the farm­ers and barangay of­fi­cials of San Juan as the so­cial en­tre­pre­neur who will run the pro­ject as gen­eral man­ager.

Gual­berto added that the pro­ject has a ca­pac­ity build­ing com­po­nent which en­vis­ages the op­er­a­tion of a Life Com­mu­nity Cen­ter where mem­bers of the farm house­holds can ac­quire use­ful knowl­edge and skills in par­tic­i­pa­tory gov­er­nance, so­cial entreprene­urship, en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion and man­age­ment of change. The LCC will be in­stru­men­tal in pre­par­ing young lead­ers from the house­hold fam­i­lies to take over man­age­ment of the pro­ject in the fu­ture.

Based on the fea­si­bil­ity study, the pro­ject rev­enues are es­ti­mated to in­crease from 72 mil­lion at 80 per­cent pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity to 91 mil­lion at 100 ca­pac­ity. On the other hand to­tal costs will be at 34.36 mil­lion at 80 per­cent ca­pac­ity and 42 mil­lion at 100 per­cent ca­pac­ity. Pro­jected net in­come will be 10.4 mil­lion at 80 per­cent ca­pac­ity and 15.57 mil­lion at 100 per­cent ca­pac­ity. Pay back pe­riod is placed at 3.6 years while break-even vol­ume will be at 50 per­cent ca­pac­ity.

 ??  ?? Shown af­ter sign­ing of the mem­o­ran­dum of agree­ment at Mega­mall dur­ing Co­conut Week Cel­e­bra­tion on Au­gust 27 are (from left): Co­op­er­a­tion De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity Ad­min­is­tra­tor Eloy Castillo, SJCPPC Vice Chair­man Capt. Manny Barradas, Philip­pine Co­conut...
Shown af­ter sign­ing of the mem­o­ran­dum of agree­ment at Mega­mall dur­ing Co­conut Week Cel­e­bra­tion on Au­gust 27 are (from left): Co­op­er­a­tion De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity Ad­min­is­tra­tor Eloy Castillo, SJCPPC Vice Chair­man Capt. Manny Barradas, Philip­pine Co­conut...

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