Farming particularly on coconut production has already been the agriculture-based economy in Iloilo which encouraged other small-entrepreneurs to convert coconut waste into useful products for livelihood purposes.
The coconut husk or coir has always been thrown to waste by farmers after copra production but members of Tubungan Small Coconut Growers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TSCGMPC) through the technical assistance extended by the West Visayas State University (WVSU), were able to produce different unique products out of coconut waste.
Among their products that can be bought already in the markets are door mat, plant pole, plant hanger, coco pit, ropes and geonet. The Department of Public Works and Highways 6 (DPWH-6) uses geonet product as slope protectors in their river bank development project instead of using the common wire mesh fence.
Coco coir processing coordinator Ma. Rovely Tampe said these waste materials which converted into useful products are already part of their town’s livelihood.
“Aside from additional income for us, our product is natural fiber, durable and biodegradablewhich is very environmental-friendly”, she said during the Semana ng Iloilo- agricultural exhibit at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol ground last week.
Tampe said these products are now considered as their ‘One Town, One Product’ of Tubungan for almost seven years already.
In 2010, the coordinator stressed that several of their products were exported to Canada and she is hoping that more orders will follow this year.
Tampe also said their production is being supported by the Department of Trade (DTI), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Philippine Coconut Industry (PCI) and private investor such as Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), among others.
To upgrade their equipment, Tampe added that the DTI and DAR pledged to give them P 700, 000 worth of decorticating machine and drying facility, respectively.
The TSCGMPC which is currently being managed by Chairman Antonio Candoleza Jr. has now 75 active members and stakeholders all over the town. Their coconut coir processing factory is located in Brgy. Lanag Sur, Tubungan.IMT