Firm to build 10 coconut coir processing plants in North, Western Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/30 March) – An investment company is planning to build 10 processing plants for coconut coir in Northern and Western Mindanao by 2016.

Vicente T. Laoa, president of the Maharlika Agro-Marine Ventures, Corp., said each plant would cost P20 million, for a total of P200 million. This they will build with the help of some Chinese investors.

“It would be a five-year project of the company,” he said during the first National Coco Coir Summit at The Marco Polo on Wednesday.

Each plant, he said, will produce about 200 to 300 metric tons of coco coir per day.

Laoa said the project would benefit coconut farmers as the latter would be making money out of coconut husks that are usually considered as waste.

He said the foresee no problem on the supply side, considering that coconuts in the country are everywhere. “This is a problem of logistics,” he stressed, noting that it is important to locate the plants where raw materials abound as it would be costly bringing in coconut husks from afar.

Thus, Maharlika intend to spread their plants all over Northern Mindanao and the Zamboanga peninsula. Among the locations eyed are Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte.

He said it would be located in areas in Northern Mindanao such as Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental and Lanao del Norte, as well as Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga del Norte in Western Mindanao.

In Northern Mindanao alone, there are a total of 31.8 million coconut trees annually producing 1.7 million metric tons, according to records from the Department of Agriculture.

At least 10 pieces of coconut husks are needed to produce a kilo of coco coir.

Meanwhile, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, who was present during the summit, lauded the corporation on their plan to build 10 processing plants.

He said the proposed coco coir plant would be helpful in boosting the coco coir industry as it is expected to produce about 4,000 metric tons per year. (MindaNews)