Cement makers help build copra dryers

PARANG, Maguindanao — Coconut farmers in at least nine towns in Mindanao and the Visayas are assured of higher income with title use of more efficient drying facilities built with the assistance of the cement industry, it was reported.

In a move that further concretized their corporate social-responsibility commitments, several members of the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CeMAP) have offered to bankroll the cost of the cement com­ponents of eight copra-drying facilities to be constructed in collaboration with the Centro Saka Inc., an agriculture-based non-government organization.

CeMAP chairman Renato Sunico signed recently a memorandum of agreement with Centro Saka executive director Romeo Royandoyan to formal­ize the cement industry’s effort to help improve the coconut farmers’ quality of life through the construction of the copra dryers as a way to promote the use of efficient post-harvest facilities.

Eight farmers’ cooperatives were identified as prospective beneficiaries of the copra dryers. These will be built in Rasay, Samar; Calbayog, Samar; Maasin, Leyte; Guihulngan, Negros Oriental; Bindoy, Negros Oriental; Toril, Davao; Tandag, Surigao del Sur; and Parang, Maguindanao.

The Coconut Farmers Association of Southern Leyte based in Maasin and Hinundayan towns and headed by Rodolfo Juinio as chairman became the first beneficiary of the CeMAP outreach project.

CeMAP president Ernesto Ordonez said that the copra dryers, costing P50,000 each, would enable the farmers to increase their average annual income of P10,000 by about P3,136, representing a 31-percent hike.

Ordonez also cited the urgent need to introduce efficient post-harvest facilities, not only in the coconut industry, but also in other sectors of agriculture to speed up economic growth in the countryside.

A study showed that a coconut farmer normally earns an average of P10,000 from a one-hectare plantation using the antiquated drying processes.
The farmers generally lose about 80 centavos per kilogram (kg.) selling their copra in pasada (with high moisture content) form to local cooperatives who in turn sell it to the oil mills.

By using the copra dryer at a minimal cost of five centavos per kilo, the farmers can recover 75 centavos which translates to an average savings of P3,146 a year based on an estimated average harvest of 933 kg per hectare.

One copra dryer can service some 200 farmers covering 300 hectares.

“Assuming the cooperative charges five centavos per kilo service fee to the farmer, and returns all its profits from the increased value of dried versus wet copra to the farmer, then the net revenue advantage for the farmer is 75 centavos. This results in an increased income for the 200 farmers of P629,250 a year.  This is 12.6 times the value of the copra dryer,” the CeMAP said.

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