Coir and Dust from Coconut Husk

Sen. Angara is showing to visitors the coco net woven by
the farm families. Zac B. Sarian is at extreme left.

Three processing plants in Aurora province are converting the coconut husk into important byproducts, thus maximizing the income of farmers from their trees.

  
The coconut coir or fiber that is extracted from the husk by means of a decorticating machine is made into twines which are woven into coco net used in erosion control. The nets are installed in sloping areas to prevent the soil from eroding. Vetiver grass or some other vegetation is grown where the net is spread so that after several years, when the coco net shall have disintegrated, the grasses will already be well established to hold the soil. There are other uses of the coir aside from geotextile or coco net.
  
Another byproduct of coir extraction is the coco peat or dust which is also useful in agriculture. The dust is processed into potting medium for vegetables and other plants. In fact, the East-West Seed Company is said to be buying about 30 tons of coco peat from Aurora every month. The coco dust is also a valuable material for the manufacture of organic fertilizer.
  
The three coco coir and coco peat processing plants are located in Brgy. Reserva in the capital town of Baler, another in the town of San Luis and the third in Casiguran. The three plants can produce 36 tons of dried coconut coir per month. The coco dust is much more because the coir is just about 30 percent of the husk.
  
The processing plants have been put up under the initiative of Sen. Edgardo Angara who is very much interested in agriculture. A company called Principe Agribusiness Corporation is running the processing operations in the three plants.
   
The farmers make money by bringing their husk to the processing plant as well as in twining and making coco net out of the fiber.  Salvador B. Panes Jr. who manages the company said that the farmers are paid 25 centavos for every kilo of husk that they deliver.
  
The processing plant decorticates the husks and then the farmers are given fibers to make into twines and which they weave into coco net. Twining and weaving are family undertakings which are a good source of income for the farm families.
  
According to Panes, a family can make four rolls of coco net measuring one meter wide and 20 meters long. For every one square meter woven, they are paid P22 or P440 per roll. That means they can make P1,760 per day if they finish four rolls.
  
The coco peat is still to be fully utilized. There is a possibility that an organic fertilizer company can tie up with the Aurora processing plants in producing organic fertilizer. Dr. Rene Sumaoang who produces Durabloom fertilizer has indicated interest in a project like that.
  
Aurora is rich in coconut trees. It is claimed to have the biggest number of trees of all the provinces in Luzon. It has more coconuts than either Laguna or Quezon. In the capital town of Baler alone, it is claimed to have 14,000 hectares planted to coconut.
  
The province is also said to have the biggest coconut nursery. It produces 16,000 seedlings a year. According to Sen. Angara, the nuts from Aurora are 20 percent more meaty than those from other provinces. The nuts are also bigger.
  
The young coconut or “buko” from Aurora are supplied to Central Luzon up to Laoag City in the north. The coconut used for making “bukayo” in Pangasinan is sourced from Aurora.
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