Coconut (Cocos Nucifera L.) is popularly known as the “TREE OF LIFE” because of the variety of products and by-products made from the tree namely: coconut meat, oil, juice, husk, shell, shell charcoal, leaves, husk, pith, inflorescence, trunk and roots.
The coconut industry in the Philippines plays a key role in shaping national development. It is among the top ten export produce of the country as exhibited by the good export performance of both traditional and non-traditional coconut products. About one third of the country’s arable agricultural land or 3.26 million hectares is planted to coconut representing sixty four (68) out of total seventy nine (79) provinces, and 1,195 out of the 1,554 municipalities in the country. It provides a sustainable income source for Filipinos by way of employment generation through its many programs.
Unfortunately, despite the numerous coconut plantations in the country, productivity levels remain low and one of the reasons may be attributed to lack of information on appropriate technologies for Coconut farming.
Selection of Breeds
There are many varieties to choose from and selection will be based on the needs of the farmer. Majority of the farmers utilize the coconut meat for copra. Copra is the dried meat from where oil is extracted for industrial and domestic use. If this is the primary reason for growing coconut, the farmer must select the breed that produces the most amount of copra per unit area and per unit time. Resistance to pest and diseases and stress factor such as resistance to drought and strong winds is also a consideration. In some cases, farmers consider exotic varieties such as macapuno.
There are two recognized types of coconut varieties: the a) dwarf and the b) tall variety. These are simply distinguished according to its height. Dwarf coconuts are usually early maturing. It produces nuts during its earlier years compared to the tall varieties. Tall varieties however yield more nuts than dwarf varieties
Products and By-Products
Copra – is the dried coconut meat. It is the source where coconut oil is extracted for many uses.
- Oil – extracted processed/filtered oil obtained from copra. It is mainly used for cooking but also used for many other purposes; moisturizer, liniment for muscles and joints, cosmetics, medicines, soaps and detergents, paints, biofuels, etc.
- Coconut milk – the liquid obtained by pressing grated coconut meat. This is used for cooking. And making home-made coconut oil.
- Latik – heat coagulated content of coconut milk. This is also used for food purposes.
- Dessicated coconut – dried coconut grated meat mainly prepared for food uses.
- Coconut Flour – this is the de-oiled dessicated coconut that is finely grounded. This is used in baking.
Coconut Shell – This is the protective covering of the coconut meat and water. This makes a very good source of charcoal. This is a very good fuel for domestic cooking.
- Activated charcoal – found to possess the ability to adsorb gases and vapors hence finds uses in gas mask, cigarette filters, removal of bad odors from air-conditioning, freezers and refrigerators, and many other adsorption capabilities. Continuing research on this is making advances lately. Activated charcoal are used in filtering water and air.
- Charcoal briquettes – coconut shell charcoal are processed into briquettes so that it is easier to transport. Specifically used in grills.
- Novelty items – local craftsmen make indigenous novelties from shells such as lamps, figurines, picture frames, musical instruments, souvenirs and many more.
Coconut Husk – the fibrous outer covering of the nut. This part extends from the nut skin to the shell and varying thickness up to 5 cm.
- Coco-coir – The hair-like thread extracted from the coconut husk by mechanical method or by the decorticating machine. The resulting products are coco dust and coco coir. Coco coir is used for upholstery, mattress fibers, filter pads, carpets, erosion nets, insulation material, biodegradable pots, orchid and ornamental planting medium, etc.
- Coco dust – Are the medium collected after separating the coir from the husk. It has very good water retention capabilities thus used mainly as potting medium.
Coconut Water – the liquid found inside the coconut. It is an excellent and readily available drinking water. The quality of water varies according to the age of the nut. Younger nut water is largely consumed locally as beverage. Water from mature nuts is used as raw material for making nata de coco, vinegar, intravenous fluid, electrolyte, wine and alcohol. Large uses however have not prospered
Coconut Sap – a very sweet juice obtained from a young inflourescence. Locally known as Tuba. Toddy in India.
- Liquor – Coco-sap are left to ferment and made into alcoholic beverages called “Tuba”. In Samar and Leyte province, they add bark from a local tree and ferment to produce “Bahalina”. In Southern Tagalog and Bicol area, coco-sap are distilled and made into a strong alcohol called “Lambanog”.
- Vinegar – Coco sap are also made into vinegar.
- Coco sugar – Coco sap are sometimes cooked to produce sugar. This has been a long practice in some places but not in very large quantities.