PRDP-Bicol lays groundwork for CamSur coco sap sugar processing center

PILI, CAMARINES SUR – The Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) has approved a P6.83 million-worth Camarines Sur Coconut Sap Sugar Processing Enterprise to be implemented by the Federation of Baao Women (FBW) Multi-Purpose Cooperative. Part of this enterprise development (I-REAP) subproject is the establishment of a coconut sap sugar processing center in Brgy. San Vicente Baao, Camarines Sur. The 141-square meter coconut sap sugar processing center will serve as a processing plant and buying center of the coco sap or coco syrup. Sap to be delivered at the processing center will undergo the process of filtration,   evaporation, syruping, granulation, grinding and sieving, drying, weighing and packaging as well as marketing. The center will process about 150 kilogram of coconut sap per day. This is equivalent to more or less 45 metric tons of coconut sap sugar for year 1.

Labelled as a healthy sweetener, coconut sap sugar has high commercial potential both in the local and international markets. This is with the shift in people’s lifestyle and health consideration worldwide.

In a 2012 report from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), the Philippines topped the coconut sap sugar players in the global market with 52 percent share. The rising demand for coconut sap sugar is attributed to the growing number of people with diabetes and obesity. Most consumers are also convinced by its vitamins and mineral content. Coconut sap sugar contains 16 out of the 20 amino acids needed by the human body.

Camarines Sur is the leading coconut producer in Bicol with 37 percent or 203,282 hectares of its total land area planted to coconut. A total of 95,195 farmers in the upland and coastal areas of the province are dependent on coconut as their major source of livelihood.

On April 24, 2018, PRDP laid the groundwork for the construction of the P3.11 million-worth Camarines Sur Coconut Sap Sugar Processing Center. In a Pre-Construction Conference held at the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Office in this province, PRDP Project Support Office South Luzon Procurement Unit Head Michael Gregory Vargas announced the issuance of No Objection Letter 2 (NOL 2) for the subproject. Joining him were PRDP-Bicol Finance Analyst I Francis Llesis, Social and Environmental Safeguards (SES) Project Development Associate Cherry Soribello, Geographic Information System (GIS) Officer Engr. Philbert Nebres and Rural Infrastructure Engineer Jimbo Bjorn Salceda who briefed the project stakeholders about financial management and billing, SES and Geomapping and Governance Unit compliances as well as infrastructure development (I-BUILD) guidelines, respectively. Engr. Raquel Nacario of PPMIU-Camarines Sur discussed the Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) while Engr. Cherryme De La Rama presented the PPMIU project supervision team. Also, Project Manager Brix Agravante and the project contractor briefed the project stakeholders of their construction methods and schedule and presented their key personnel.

The construction of the Camarines Sur Coconut Sap Sugar Processing Center will commence this May 2018, upon the issuance of the Notice to Award and Notice to Proceed.

I-REAP is one of the four components of PRDP, a six-year World Bank-assisted development project being implemented by the Department of Agriculture, which aims to strengthen and develop viable agri-fishery-based enterprises in targeted project areas. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS V)