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Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani




Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani





Village-level coconut oil processing set up in Phi
09/16/2002 (Financial Time) DAVAO CITY - The first village-level coconutoil processing mill run by agrarian reform beneficiaries in Mindanao,worth P2.9 million, was recently built by members of the Lawa WorkersMultipurpose Cooperative in Don Marcelino, Davao del Sur.The cooperative formed the Lawa integrated coconut processing plant withassistance from the United Nations Development Programme's Support forAgrarian Reform Development for Indigenous Community (UNDP-SARDIC), LandBank of the Philippines (Landbank), and Department of Agrarian Reform(DAR).The plant can process up to 10,000 nuts, or the equivalent of 2,250 kilosof copra, per sixteen hours, two-shift, operation into 1,140 kilos or1,239 liters of refined, bleached and deodorized cooking oil, the mainproduct, and 680 kilos of copra cake daily.The plant will also be engaged in the improvement of the cooperative'spresent operation of charcoal-making.This activity aims at increasing charcoal recovery and reduce exposure tocharcoal kiln smoke hazards, which is possible through the replacement ofthe current drum kiln with a new kiln dubbed Pag-asa.UNDP-SARDIC provided P1.2 million of the total project cost, LandbankP1.17 million and the beneficiaries P500,000.The cooperative, as part of the Lawa agrarian reform community, has 106agrarian reform beneficiaries, 95% of whom belongs to the B'Laan-Manobotribe.The cooperative has become the owner of a 330-hectare coconut farm underthe Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. The farm produces an average of3.9 million nuts per year.Before the processing plant, the cooperative used traditional dryingfacilities which were able to process about 998,000 tons of copra reapingan annual profit of roughly P632,000.With the availability of the processing plant, the economic benefits areexpected to be much higher.Jose Ponce, DAR assistant secretary for support services, said thepioneering venture could be replicated in other coconut producing areas."It all started with a desire of the Lawa cooperative members to addressthe problem of low farm incomes from their coconut products due to thevolatile and fluctuating prices of copra," Mr. Ponce said.He urged beneficiaries and all project stakeholders to make the projectsustainable, viable and profitable by keeping the cooperative strong.