Press Release
January 1, 2015

Villar: Coco sugar, now a P100-M international market

The coconut sugar as a "healthy sweetener" is now a P100-million international market, said Senator Cynthia A. Villar while quoting a report from the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).

"This is good news that the government, particularly BAR, and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), have been actively promoting coco sugar as alternative to cane sugar," said Villar.

Villar, chairperson of the Senate Agriculture and Food Committee, said the growing number of coconut farmers and their families have benefited from the thriving coco sugar industry. Because of this, she said, coco sugar is becoming popular especially among health-conscious persons. She sees a "bright future" and braces for more coco sugar enterprises.

She said the health benefits of coco sugar are one of its biggest selling points. It has a glycemic index (GI) of 35, and sucrose content of 80, which makes it healthier than cane sugar. It is also processed with no preservatives and chemicals.

Indeed, she said, coconut tree lives up to its famous title as "tree of life" due to the many benefits we can get from it.

People from the Bicol region and other parts of the countries, the senator said, have created livelihood opportunities from coconut trees.

In Las Piñas City, where she served as congresswoman for nine years, Villar said they use coconut husks in the city's coconet enterprise.

Coconut husks, considered wastes in marketplaces, are turned into coconet to replace cement as rip-rap. Coconut is 80 percent cheaper than cement.

"We extract fiber and coco peat from the coco husks using the decorticating machine. The fiber is used for making coconet that controls erosion in sloping areas. Even the coconut dust is beneficial since they use it as raw material for mixing household wastes to make organic fertilizer," pointed out Villar.

'She said a decorticating machine can extract fiber and dust from up to 8,000 coconut husks in a day. The fibers are then made into twines by women workers, oftentimes, with the help of their children.

"Actually, our best twiner are young children," further stated Villar who revealed it was Dr. Justino Arboleda, former dean of Bicol University's College of Agriculture who helped them commenced the coconet weaving enterprise in Las Piñas City.

She said Arboleda was the first to start the production of coconets in the Philippines. Arboleda's decorticating invention won for him the "Best Innovative Project for the grassroot levels" in the 2005 BBC World Challenge wherein he bested 456 entries from 90 countries.

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