The future of our coconut industry is in diversified manufacturing



Recent news about the renewal of the contract between publicly listed coconut processor Axelum Resources and well-known coconut water brand Vita Coco ( has many coconut industry watchers like me curious about the coconut water business, and hopeful that more deals such as these will take place to facilitate the growth of the downstream coconut industry. The article cites information from Skyquest Technology that the global market for coconut water is  $7.63 billion in 2023  and may grow to $25.18 billion by 2031. That’s a lot of cans of coconut water to be drawn from Philippine coconuts, and many opportunities for coconut farmers.

Developments in Axelum’s operations as well as those of other coconut processing companies bode well for the island economy of Mindanao, which produces a major chunk of our country’s coconuts. These producers turn the fruit and other coconut components into milled and virgin coconut oil, desiccated coconut for baking, coconut cream, and powder for cooking. Coco methyl ester is also an additive to biodiesels. Coconut lumber and coir are also useful in construction. The list of products and applications will continue to grow, creating new value chains to which our coconut farms sell their supply. Having this variety not only builds value for local economies, it creates jobs and provides income options for the farm and the families that harvest coconuts.

Thus, we need more investments in coconut processing and manufacturing.  Having more coconut processors and manufacturers is always welcome news since the coconut sector employs the highest number of local farmers at about 3.5 million Filipinos. Coconuts grow well in the country’s mountainous terrain, putting us behind Indonesia as the world’s second-largest producer of the proverbial tree of life at 13.32 million metric tons in 2022, according to Statista. Since it grows well in the country, its production can expand and create even more downstream opportunity.

Every time we buy products made from local coconuts we employ residents engaged in the processing, and help a coconut farm and the farmers and their families by ensuring a steady demand for their coconut harvest.

Oh, the crisp Bukidnon morning!

Last week, I woke up to clear skies, cool breeze and manicured gardens of a hotel in Valencia City, Bukidnon.  After enjoying the freshly roasted coffee and breakfast, I headed off to Cagayan de Oro once again on the familiar Sayre highway. Driving through this road one can view the vistas of the Kitanglad and Kalatungan mountain ranges and other geologic features of Bukidnon-Lanao plateau, where fertile lands bear corn, pineapple, coffee, and banana fields, host idyllic farm resorts and other establishments that all combine to make up the local economy. The plateau also cradles the headwaters of the Davao and Cagayan rivers that lead to the Davao Gulf and Macajalar Bay in northern Mindanao, meandering through the melting pot of cultures celebrated in the recent Kaamulan festival.

These impressive views and diverse culture, make me look forward to waking up to a Bukidnon morning. This is a simple pleasure that everyone must experience in their lifetime. The crisp morning that starts eventually makes way for a colorful blazoned sunset at day’s end to gently shepherd the entry of the night. A day in Bukidnon is to experience God’s country, healing the body and soul.  

Happy Earth Day to everyone. May we all lead sustainable, healthy lifestyles that celebrate and nurture life, encourage collaboration, and promote peace, development, and growth.