Coconut sugar from coco shell
by Marjorie M. Arriola - Wednesday, 29 June 2011, 10:09 AM
The Manila Bulletin, June 24, 2011, 2:56pm

MANILA, Philippines -- Would you believe that a new kind of coconut sugar can be extracted from the shell of mature coconut? It looks unimaginable but the fact is that a P2-billion company has been set up at the DADC Economic Zone in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, to produce the novel product.

The company is called CJ Toyota Tsu Sho Philippines, Inc., said to be a joint venture of Japan’s biggest car company and a Korean partner. The company has a huge processing facility that was inaugurated about a couple of months ago.

The product is called Xylose coco sugar and is said to be for export to Japan and Korea. The product comes in very fine powder form that is immaculate white. It is very sweet and is said to be used for the manufacture of toothpaste, chewing gum and possibly other products that need sweetener.

Administrator Euclides Forbes of the Philippine Coconut Administration showed us a sample of the product and also let us taste the same. It’s really very sweet, and is said to have an even lower glycemic index (GI) than coconut sugar made from the toddy or tuba from the unopened coconut flower. This would be perfect for diabetics.

The company is said to be buying coconut shell for P5 per kilo. After extracting the sugar from the shell, the shell that has been broken to pieces can still be used to make activated carbon by subjecting the same to very high temperature.

Coco peat into organic fertilizer – There’s a P10-million project between the Department of Agriculture and PCA to convert into organic fertilizer the huge volume of coco peat, the coco dust that is the byproduct of coconut coir extraction. About 70 percent of the coconut husk is coco peat. The organic fertilizer is intended for fertilizing coconuts. Coco peat will be blended with chicken manure and salt. It has been proven that salt is an effective fertilizer for coconuts.

One fellow who is also converting coco peat into organic fertilizer is Eric Rabat of Mati City. The fertilizer is made by mixing coco peat with chicken manure and inoculating the same with Biosec, a formulation of beneficial microorganisms supplied by Dr. Rene Sumaoang of Novatech.

Coco husk as goldmine – Administrator Forbes revealed that the Philippines produces 15 billion nuts a year, meaning also 15 billion coconut husks. Only a very small portion of this is processed into something of value. In fact the Philippines exports only about 4,500 metric tons of coconut coir a year.

In Kerala, India, he said, they earn $600 million a year from different products produced out of coconut husk.

Coconut in Aurora – Atty.Forbes used to wonder why there are so many coconut trees in Aurora province but there is not a single mill to process the harvest. Then somebody told him that the production is mostly absorbed by the “buko” juice and “bucayo” makers in Pangasinan and Baguio.

Coso sugar capital – Many of the coconut sugar producers are found in Carmen and other towns of North Cotabato. That is why the local government officials would want to declare North Cotabato as the coco sugar capital of the Philippines. The advantage of North Cotabato is that many of their coconuts are dwarf so that it is much easier to extract the toddy from the unopened flowers.

There are not as many coco sugar producers in Laguna and Quezon, according to Adm. Forbes, because thecoconut trees in these two provinces are old and very tall.

Besides North Cotabato, an increasing number of coco sugar makers are now found in Davao and Zamboanga. By the way, coco sugar comes in varying colors. There is a light colored variety which is produced through cooking with slow fire so that the resulting sugar does not get burned. This one is used for making cakes. There is a graduated scale of colors, from light to medium to dark and very dark brown. The chocolate brown is considered next to the poorest grade. The poorest grade is almost black, but this one still has one use. It can be made into a syrup and used for dipping “suman”.

Where are the coconuts? – Where do you find the most number of coconut trees in the country? Not Quezon, not Laguna, not in Mindanao, according to Atty. Forbes. The biggest concentration of coconut trees today is in the Samar- Leyte area.

PCA events – Watch for the celebration of the 38th anniversary of the Philippine Coconut Authority on June 30. This coming August, PCA will be staging the annual Coco Festival at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City. The exact date is not yet definite.

Source: Coconut sugar from coco shell

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