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Switch to buko juice from soft drinks benefits copra farmers

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By Marie Tonette Marticio

PALO, Leyte – The Philippine Coco­nut Authority (PCA) is urging national agencies and local government units to serve buko (green coconut) juice in their events and seminars instead of soft drinks to help coconut farmers who have been suffering because of dropping copra prices.

PCA Eastern Visayas Manager Jef­frey De Los Reyes said serving buko juice it is one way of focusing attention on 3.5 million people in the region who are dependent on the coconut indus­try.

“If one-half of our population will drink buko everyday, it will be a big help to our farmers. With the help of LGUs, let’s make buko available even in subdi­visions ” De Los Reyes said during the Summer Buko Fest held at the PCA re­gional office last Wednesday.

He said the price of copra has shrunk by 60 percent, from P38 to P12, since January last year.

He added that the crisis the indus­try is facing is an awakening to explore other opportunities apart from copra.

“We want to send the message to our farmers that there is more to co­pra, that is why we are creating op­portunities to augment their income and not be copra dependent,” De lost Reyes said .

Ruby Santos, 34, a buko vendor, is looking forward to the PCA’s initiative, saying it could provide more income to support her three children.

Santos sells from 100 to 200 green coconuts daily at P25 each but it is not enough because she cannot raise a capital and only sells on consignment.

“Kung magkatotoo man ‘yung suporta na ibibigay sa amin, malaking tulong talaga,” she said.

Aside from fresh buko juice, PCA is also pushing for other value-add­ed products such as coconut sugar, coconut wine (tuba), vinegar, coco coir and pastries.

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