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Philippine Coconut Palm Tree

Coconut Palm Tree Picture

Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera)

The coconut it not a nut but a fruit. The term coconut pertains to the fruit while the tree is called a coconut palm. It belongs to the Arecaceae palm family and can grow up to 6 meters tall. Called the "tree of life" in the Philippines, all parts of the palm has uses -nothing is wasted even at the end of its fruit bearing years. Listed below are the basic parts and its uses:

Coconut Husk & Shell

- this part of the coconut is soaked in water for up to 10 months, pounded, dried and de-fibered (now by machine). The husk, called "coir" can be used to make ropes. The coconut husk is also used in making doormats, twines, padding material for furniture seats and as padding for ornamental plants like orchids. In manufacturing, the coconut husk is used in making wall boards, filtration pads, carpet underlay, insulation materials and other products. While the dried shell can be used to make handicrafts like: piggy banks, cups, decors and even musical instruments like the Vietnamese Dn Go and the Chinese Banhu and Yehu.

Coco-Lumber

- the trunk of old coconut trees that not as productive as before are cut down. The trunk brought to the sawmill and made into coco lumber. This soft wood is much cheaper that the standard "Tangile" lumber that is available in most lumber stores and affords may poor people build their homes at a much lesser cost.

Coconut Fruit

- the delicious meat of the coconut fruit has many uses, it can be eaten as-is, processed into snacks or sweets or used for cooking (grated & juiced for the coconut milk). While the coconut water is a health drink that not only quenches thirst but also cleanses the kidneys. The coconut water contains: anti-oxidants, sugars, proteins, fiber, vitamins and minerals. The meat is also converted into copra. Copra is either exported or processed domestically into cooking oil. Recent findings also show that coconut oil can be used as a substitute to diesel. Already, coconut oil blended with diesel is being used but new test reveals that coconut biodiesel can be used alone on diesel engines without any modification.

Coconut Leaves

- even the leaves are not allowed to go to waste. The spine of the leaves are usually used as firewood for cooking while the leaves itself is stripped and turned into brooms or "walis ting-ting".

Coconut Roots

- are used as toothbrush during the olden times. When pressed the juice of the roots is used as medicine for dysentery. The root coloring can also be used as a dye.

Philippine Coconut Industry (1970s to 1980s)


During Martial Law in 1973, then President Marcos created the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA). The PCA was established to stabilize the price coconut products for the benefit of the farmers. To fund PCA, it was authorized to collect a P 0.55 levy for every 100 kilos of copra produced. This levy was increased to P20.00 in 1974 to finance a new government agency called the Coconut Industry Development Fund (CIDF). It was established to finance the development of a hybrid coconut palm tree.

By the 1980's, the already huge coconut levy fund and practically the whole coconut industry was monopolized by the PCA, its bank -the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), United Coconut Oil Mills and the Coconut Producers Federation (Cocofed), all headed by Eduardo Cojuangco (a close Marcos ally) and then Secretary of Defense, Juan Ponce Enrile who was chairman of UCPB, the United Coconut Oil Mills and honorary chairman of Cocofed.

The prices of coconut products declined in early 80's and upon the insistence of the International Monitory Fund (IMF) the United Coconut Oil Mills was dismantled. After the 1986 EDSA revolution, the new government of President Cory Aquino, sequestered the coconut levy fund and all the other corporations associated with the fund. The following years saw a succession of court litigations between the Cojuanco group and the government. The funds remain frozen and the cases unresolved. All told, the coconut farmers befitted little from the coconut levy.

Philippine Coconut Industry (Today)


The Philippines is only second only to Indonesia as the world's top producer of coconut products. But the Philippines is the top exporter of coconut products -about 64% of the world's copra & coconut oil comes from the Philippines. 25% of the country's 12 million hectares of agricultural land is planted with coconuts. There are 3.5 million coconut farmers and about 25 million people benefit from the coconut industry (directly & indirectly) and not surprisingly, coconut product exports is one of the top 5 dollar earners for the county (U.S. $760 M p.a.). The coconut industry contributes about 1.14% of the Gross National product (GNP).

 

Other Herbal & Non-Herbal Medicine: Philippine Plants, Fruits & Trees

Abaca Plant | Avocado | Atis Fruit | Banana Plant | Barako Coffee | Coconut Palm Tree | Durian Fruit | Guyabano Fruit | Mango Tree | Mangosteen | Papaya Nutrition Facts | Pineapple Nutrition Fact | Rubber Tree | Tomato Nutrition | Tuba-Tuba Plant - Jatropha

Key to Nutritional Healing | Philippine Medicinal Plants List

 

 

   

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