Quezon coconut industry gets boost

IN a move to boost the coconut industry in Quezon province, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) and a team from the Southeast Asian Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) carried out the initial scoping activity for the baseline assessment for a project in Catanauan town.

The team from SEARCA that conducted the scoping activity of the project titled "Development of Coconut Industry Growth Areas in the Province of Quezon" on April 28 to 29, 2022 was headed by Dr. Pedcris Orencio, program head of the Research and Thought Leadership Department (RTLD).

Orencio said the scoping visit that was conducted after preliminary activities, such as foresight scanning, planning workshop and project proposal development, aimed to contribute to the preparation of the baseline survey and the rapid value chain analysis (VCA) of the project.

Other team members from SEARCA-RTLD who joined the activity were Anna Gale Vallez, program specialist; Ruth Jazrel Bandong, project associate; and Blanquita Pantoja, technical coordinator. They were accompanied by OPA-Quezon representatives and the Municipal Agricultural Office of Catanauan town.

The team was also joined by representatives from the provincial government of Quezon, Philippine Coconut Authority and Quezon 2nd District Engineering Office to inspect the Quezon Science and Technology Complex for Coconut (CoCoQueST), also located in Catanauan.

Orencio said the visit aimed to monitor the progress of the buildings and inspect the damages brought about by the typhoons that hit the municipality and the province.

Headed by Director Glenn Gregorio, SEARCA said CoCoQueST is a research and development center that will cater to the processing and marketing of coconut products and develop the capacity of stakeholders in coconut-based enterprises.

Gregorio said Quezon province is a leading producer of coconut in the country, and the provincial government of Quezon pushes to sustain the competitiveness of the raw and high-value products of coconut through CoCoQueST.

During the scoping activity, Pantoja facilitated the interview with the four farmer organizations, namely San Antonio Pala Virgin Coconut Oil Producers Association; San Antonio Pala Lambanog Producers Association; San Antonio Pala Cocosap Sugar Producers Association; and San Antonio Pala Buko Juice Producers Association.

Orencio also noted that an important part of the project was the drafting of the scoping report, organization and training of the multi-component team for the development of the baseline assessment tool and rapid VCA and data gathering.

Gregorio noted that the launching of the Development of Coconut Industry Growth Areas Project is anchored on SEARCA's 55 years of experience in agricultural and rural development.

He said the project, which is a partnership with the provincial government of Quezon, is a collaborative action research initiative toward achieving the desired outputs and outcomes of the SEARCA's strategic intent stipulated in its 11th Five-Year Plan with the umbrella theme of Accelerating Transformation Through Agricultural Innovation, also called ATTAIN.