By JAMES TABABA
Giemel Ayap is a certified coconut trader by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and has been in the industry since 2020. Through his experience, he has become knowledgeable about the coconut production industry, gaining valuable insights into the cultivation and distribution of coconut seedlings. Over time, he has identified five distinct varieties of coconut trees that are best suited for specific purposes, including the production of coconut oil, buko juice, coconut sugar, wine, ornamental purposes, and for making pies.
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Most of the coconut varieties that Ayap recommends are of the dwarf type, which offers several benefits compared to the traditional centennial tall varieties that coconut farmers used to plant and harvest from. Dwarf coconuts are smaller in size, ranging from 6 to 12 meters in height, making them more compact and easier to manage and harvest than tall varieties. This can help reduce labor costs and increase efficiency in coconut farming operations. Additionally, dwarf coconut trees reach maturity and start producing fruit at a younger age compared to tall varieties. This means farmers can start harvesting and earning income sooner.
In addition to their early maturity, dwarf coconut trees generally have a higher yield per hectare compared to tall varieties. This is because they can be planted more densely, allowing for more trees per hectare and more coconuts per tree. As a result, farmers can earn more income from the same land area.
The Tacunan dwarf coconut is a highly sought-after Philippine variety that thrives in tropical regions such as the Philippines. Being a dwarf variety, it only grows up to 6-8 meters in height, making it more manageable and easier to harvest compared to taller coconut trees.
This coconut variety boasts a slender trunk and fronds and produces medium-sized nuts that are elongated and round. The coconut shell is smooth, and the meat inside is juicy and sweet, with a thin layer of white flesh and an abundance of coconut water.
While the Tacunan dwarf coconut is a versatile coconut that can be used for various purposes, it is highly recommended for producing high-quality coconut water and meat. In addition, it is an excellent choice for producing coconut oil due to its high oil content. The coconut meat of the Tacunan dwarf coconut is firm and contains a lot of oil, making it an ideal source of copra, which is used to extract coconut oil.
The Philippine Catigan dwarf coconut is a popular variety of coconut tree that is indigenous to the Philippines. The Philippine Catigan dwarf coconut has a slender trunk and fronds, and produces a medium-sized nut that is elongated and oval-shaped. The coconut shell is smooth, and the meat inside is sweet and juicy, with a thin layer of white flesh and plenty of coconut water.
One of the main benefits of the Philippine Catigan dwarf coconut is its versatility. It can be used for a variety of purposes, including producing high-quality coconut water, meat, and oil. In fact, it is one of the coconut varieties that is highly recommended for producing coconut oil due to its high oil content. The coconut meat of the Philippine Catigan dwarf coconut is firm and has a rich, creamy taste, which makes it a good source of copra. Copra is the dried kernel of the coconut, which is used to extract coconut oil.
Aromatic Sweet Dwarf
The Aromatic Sweet Dwarf Coconut is a Philippine variety of coconut that is highly regarded for its sweet and aromatic tasteThe coconut is medium-sized, with a smooth shell and sweet, juicy meat that has a thin layer of white flesh and plenty of coconut water.
The most distinct characteristic of the Aromatic Sweet Dwarf Coconut is its sweet and fragrant meat, which is white and tender, with a thin layer of creamy flesh and a lot of coconut water. It has a distinct aroma and a natural sweetness that is highly sought after in the market. Because of its superior quality, the Aromatic Sweet Dwarf Coconut is often used in making coconut desserts such as macaroons, candies, and pastries. It is also used in making coconut milk, which is a common ingredient in many Filipino and Southeast Asian dishes.
Due to its sweet flavor, the Aromatic Sweet Dwarf Coconut is a good choice for making coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is a natural sweetener that is made by boiling coconut sap until it thickens and solidifies. This process retains most of the nutrients and minerals present in the sap, making coconut sugar a healthier alternative to refined sugar. The Aromatic Sweet Dwarf Coconut has a high sugar content, which makes it an ideal coconut variety for producing coconut sugar.
The King Golden coconut is a type of ornamental coconut tree that is popular for its unique and attractive appearance. It features a slender trunk with a slightly swollen base, and its fronds are feather-shaped and greenish-golden in color. It produces small to medium-sized coconuts that are round and have a smooth outer shell. The outer husk of the fruit is a vibrant golden-yellow color, which makes it stand out from other coconut varieties. As the fruit matures, the husk may become slightly darker and develop brown spots, but the overall yellow-gold color remains prominent. The coconut water and meat inside are sweet and refreshing, although they are not as abundant as in other coconut varieties.
While the King Golden coconut is not typically grown for commercial purposes, it is highly valued as an ornamental plant. It is a dwarf variety of coconut tree that reaches a height of about 3 to 4 meters, making it a perfect choice for landscaping. King Golden coconut can also be grown in gardens or as a standalone tree, providing a unique and tropical look to any outdoor space.
Embryo-cultured Macapuno is a rare and valuable type of coconut that is produced through a specialized process known as embryo culture. The term “Macapuno” refers to the soft, jelly-like flesh found inside the coconut fruit. Unlike regular coconuts, which have a firm meat and a large amount of coconut water, Macapuno coconuts have a very small amount of water and a much larger amount of the soft, gelatinous meat.
Embryo-cultured Macapuno is created by taking a tiny piece of the coconut embryo and placing it into a nutrient-rich culture medium. This allows the embryo to grow and develop into a new coconut tree, which will eventually produce Macapuno coconuts. The process of embryo culture is time-consuming and requires a high degree of skill and expertise, which is why Embryo-cultured Macapuno is relatively rare and expensive.
Embryo-cultured Macapuno is highly valued for its unique texture and flavor. The soft, jelly-like meat is often used in desserts and sweet dishes, and is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world. Macapuno is an important ingredient in making traditional Filipino coconut pies or “buko pie”. Its soft, jelly-like texture and sweet taste make it a popular filling for pies and other desserts. Aside from pies, macapuno is also used in other Filipino desserts like halo-halo, a popular shaved ice dessert that typically contains sweet beans, fruits, and other toppings. Macapuno is also used in making ice cream and other sweet treats.
It is crucial to understand the different coconut varieties and their intended use as each variety possesses distinct characteristics and properties that make them suitable for specific purposes. Understanding these differences helps farmers and producers make informed decisions when selecting a coconut variety for their intended use. This knowledge can lead to higher yields, better quality products, and more efficient use of resources, including time, labor, and materials. Additionally, knowing the intended use of a coconut variety helps ensure that the product meets the desired quality standards and customer preferences.
Photo courtesy of Giemel’s Quality Dwarf Coconut Seedlings