Coconut oil processing facility for Antique in full-throttle

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The coconut industry in the province of Antique is poised to receive a boost in production with the approval of a proposal to construct a white copra cooking oil processing center.

The Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan Regional Inter-Agency Technical Committee 6 approved on Monday, April 15, the proposal to establish a processing center in Hamtic town.

The P42 million state-of-the-art facility to be built in Sitio Bingay, Barangay Funda will primarily benefit the Hamtic Coconut Farmers Marketing Cooperatives.

The construction of the processing unit is funded by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHILMECH).

Apart from the funding, PHILMECH will also help the farmers in post-production such as in ensuring food safety.

The processing center is expected to process 25,000 nuts per week, producing 4,000 liters of cooking oil.

“We need to put up this processing plant to motivate the people of Antique to continue farming. This will also provide additional income to the residents here in Antique,” said Vice Governor Edgar Denosta, chairman of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan committee for agriculture.

Denosta also emphasized that the facility’s construction also aims to promote extensive coconut planting in the province.

Meanwhile, the provincial government has also provided a P2 million working capital for the cooperative.

According to Philippine Coconut Authority data, Antique has 30,367.26 hectares devoted to coconut, with 3,044,921 existing palms, of which 1,779,338 are in their fruit-bearing stage.