Davao entrepreneur plans to export 18,000 coconuts daily to China

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 Aug) – The Filipino-Chinese entrepreneur who owns the Davao City-based Eng Seng Food Products targets to increase the export volume of young coconuts to China to at least 18,000 daily starting this October following the successful initial shipments last July.

Young coconuts, or buko, being sold by the roadside. MindaNews file photo by H. MARCOS C. MORDENO

Eng Seng Food Products President John Tan said in an interview that his company, currently exporting 18,000 nuts weekly, had already made three shipments to China since the last week of July.

He added that they are receiving inquiries from farmers from different parts of the region who are interested to participate in the export of young coconuts to China as suppliers.

He urged Mindanawon farmers to produce export quality coconuts to improve their livelihood to seize the huge market opportunity in China.

“We want to help Mindanao and the farmers. I can see that they are poor. Some are not happy and abandon their farms,” Tan said.

He said they target to explore other parts of Mindanao, including the cities of Kidapawan, General Santos, Surigao, and Zamboanga, to meet the target export volume.

In July, Eng Seng Food Products, a food manufacturer that popularized the “tower” yema and other snacks, shipped 48 tons or equivalent to 36,000 pieces of aromatic coconuts to Guangzhou and Xiamen, after the Philippines complied with the export protocol allowing the entry of coconuts from Mindanao and Leyte province to China.

Duterte witnessed the contract signing between the local company and its counterpart China Artex Corporation Fujian Company during the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing last April for one-year exportation of 64.5 million metric tons of young coconuts.

Tan said one case of nine coconuts can sell for $7 in China or P366.45 (at P52.35 per $1) or P40.71 per nut.

Tan added that his firm is willing to accept all varieties from different regions of Mindanao for as long as they meet the standards of the Chinese who prefer sweet coconut.

He said they are investing in machines to improve the packaging and upgrade their plant in Calinan to increase its production capacity. Around 250 workers are employed at the company’s processing facility in Calinan.

“The taste was good but we have not perfected yet the packaging unlike in Thailand where they are already so used to it. We are still practicing on the proper way of removing the husk,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)