A copra processing facility in being planned

TACLOBAN CITY—The provincial government of Northern Samar plans to further boost its coconut industry by partnering with the Board of Investment (BOI) to attract investors to build a copra processing facility.

John Allen Berbon, head of the Provincial Economic Development and Investment Promotions Office (Pedipo), said that they presented their proposal to the agri-based industry division of BOI on Thursday (May 9), and received an encouraging response.
“The BOI will facilitate connections with potential investors for our envisioned coconut processing center,” he said in an interview.

He emphasized that the establishment of such a facility would lead to the comprehensive utilization of coconut resources, including husk, juice, shell, and not just copra (meat).
Furthermore, Berbon highlighted the direct benefits to coconut farmers, anticipating an increase in copra prices as they would have the option to sell their produce directly to the facility, bypassing middlemen.

“This would reduce their expenses and result in higher earnings for farmers,” he added.
Northern Samar ranks as the 18th largest coconut-producing province in the Philippines, boasting an annual production of 315,000 metric tons in 2023, and with over 86,000 registered coconut farmers.

Berbon disclosed that the proposed facility would require an investment of at least P300 million, with an estimated output of 60 metric tons of coconut products daily.

Despite being abundant in coconuts, Northern Samar currently has limited processing facilities, with only one oil mill, one coco-sugar producer, two virgin coconut oil producers, and three coco coir producers.

Berbon emphasized the significance of capitalizing on the province’s strengths in the coconut industry and expanding investment promotion efforts to drive economic growth and competitiveness in the coconut market.

“By leveraging our coconut industry strengths and enhancing investment promotion initiatives, Northern Samar aims to unlock its agricultural potential, spur economic development, and establish itself as a formidable contender in the coconut sector,” he said. (JOEY A. GABIETA)