The coconut is known as the tree of life, and is considered one of the Philippines’ major crop exports. However, it is still a battle for Filipino farmers to sustain a livelihood from this crop alone.
To help address the situation, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc., the social investment arm of Shell International and Pilipinas Shell, in cooperation with JNJ Industries and Quezon province farmers and cooperative, set up the Collaboration for Coconut Productivity and Nurturing Farmers’ Trade, or Project COCONUT, last year with the aim to produce high quality products to give farmers more stable incomes through alternative and sustainable livelihood programs.
As part of this, they opened a COCO Hub Facility in Agdangan, Quezon last November, the second one after Kabulihan Unisan was opened in April 2019.
When coconuts are already harvested, the copra or dried coconut flesh can still be converted into other forms such as coconut oil, oleo chemicals, and biofuel.
Moreover, one of Project Coconut’s initiatives is to gather leftover husks, which is considered waste, and send it to the facility to turn into useful and creative items like household objects and jewelry beads whose sales can serve as alternative proceeds for the farmers of Agdangan.
Only 35 farmers took part when the project began, but this number has jumped to 264.
The pioneers of this project, together with their partner organizations, believe that the success of the twoCOCO Hub facilities will help partner farmers find more ways to earn money from coconut.