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$14-M buco juice for US

Manila, Philippines – Eastern Visayas can readily supply the United States with its $14 million buco juice or coconut water requirements.

This was revealed yesterday by An WAray partylist Rep. Florencio “Bem” Noel as he noted that the importation of coconut water to the US could boost Eastern Visaya’s economy.

The region covers the provinces of Leyte, Samar and Biliran.

Eastern Visayas is predominantly a coconut region wherein more than one billion coconuts is produced yearly and we’ve been readying ever since,” said Noel.

Noel claimed the region is better prepared to engage the US market in terms of supplying coconut fruits to alternative health drink companies.

According to him, Eastern Visayas could even help change the liquor-drinking lifestyle of Americans by introducing them to the more healthy and organic “tuba” or coconut wine, which could compete with the wineries of America and Europe.

However, Noel said the coco region badly needs a “shot in the arm” to improve its production value and jumpstart its development into a world class industry.

“If we have to answer to the challenge of the US market and be the number one supplier of buko juice to the US and to the world, we have some serious homework to do,” he said.

He said there’s a bill in the House of Representatives that would put the coconut industry in order but has failed to get Congress’ attention.

He stressed the approval of the Philippine Coconut Development Act would provide a policy and development framework that would benefit coconut farmers and its stakeholders.

Based on his proposed bill, a P1-billion annual fund would be set aside for the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) that it can use to provide necessary equipment and facilities to the farmers, in particular, and also help it come up with researches that would help the industry. (Ben R. Rosario)