A group composed of civic-minded citizens of Lopez municipality, Quezon province initiated to form a business corporation with coconut as its principal material. Unified by a compelling desire to take immediate action on the poverty situation of the coconut farmers, the business organization is molded along the “Whole Coconut Concept.” A truly community-based business, it harnesses the will and scarce resources of the community to meet and complement external initiatives to improve the industry, and hasten the realization of benefits by the farmers of Lopez and neighboring communities.
Formal discussions to form the corporation began February. Initial capitalization is being provided by just a small group of individuals. The business is envisioned to generate capital from farmer-suppliers who, by supplying the raw materials to the business, contribute and gain financial rewards that are credited as their capital contribution to the business. The farmer-suppliers will eventually own 50% of the capital stock of the corporation. The original investors and other institutional investors that may include PRRM, the PRRM Chapter in Quezon, and the NIUGAN will share the other half.
Why coconut? The Philippines is ranked third in world coconut production, accounting for 23% of the total world produce. It is the world leader in coconut oil production, supplying 64% of global requirement. It is among the top exporters of coconut by-products, such as copra, desiccated coconut and other oleo-chemicals. Coconut-derived products are major income generators and contribute immensely in fueling the Philippine economy.
And yet, the lives of coconut farmers who nurture this very valuable resource remain very difficult – around 90% of coconut farmers live below the poverty line! Declining output and productivity, low quality products and low farm gate prices, low value utilization and inadequate diversification, and inadequate infrastructure and R&D support and funding are the major factors contributing to the industry’s illnesses.
Now on its second month of “Phase 1 test run”, the Lopez-PRRM CocoTech Industries, Incorporated is into the production of White Copra, Virgin Coconut Oil, Natural Coco Vinegar, Health and Beauty Soap, and metallic Charcoal in its natural and briquetted forms. Its processing facility is located at Barangay Canda-Ylaya in Lopez, Quezon; a few meters from the National Highway right before kilometer post No. 219.
Last 27 May 2008, PRRM President Ding Navarro visited Lopez, Quezon to see first hand the coco processing plant. With him was PRRM Quezon manager Amor Cabico. Adelmo Arandela, NIUGAN Quezon president and one of the 5 incorporators, briefed President Navarro on the operations of the processing facility. President Navarro saw on-going white copra preparations and charcoal making.
NIUGAN municipal leaders from Perez (Alabat Island), Tagkawayan and Calauag also were present. During the discussions, coconut leaders from Tagkawayan and Calauag vowed to encourage their farmer-members to actively participate in the Lopez-led project by bringing their coconut produce to the site.
Once the company would have generated sufficient earnings – enabling it to declare modest dividends to its investors, accumulate capital to place an order for the fabrication of a hammer mill, mini oil expellers, atmospheric refineries and other appurtenances – it will process its own white copra to high-grade refined coconut oil that meets international quality standards for both the edible and oleo-chemical oils.
It will launch a Livestock Production business among its coconut farmer-owners supported by the animal feeds production out of the “waste products” from its copra milling and VCO production. By this time, the company would have generated also sufficient capital to acquire mobile decorticators to extract peat and fibers from coconut husks – creating livelihood opportunities at the household level where men, women and children can productively engage in fiber twining and handicraft production.
March 8, 2014, Cocoon Boutique Hotel
Quezon City, Philippines