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MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, September 17 (PIA) – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Southern Leyte Provincial Office is hopeful that Virgin Coco Oil manufacturing plants will be established in the province by the first quarter of 2016.

DTI Provincial Directtor Michael Nunez said, "there are more local businessmen who signify interest investing in the production of Virgin Coco Oil right in the province as demand for the said healthy agricultural product abroad like Japan, China, and Germany in Europe keeps rising." However, the United States remains as the major market, Nunez said.

He noted during the interview at Action Center Cable TV program at the Senior Citizen Center yesterday that aside from virgin coconut oil, other products can be derived from coconut, like coco sugar, coco syrup, coco vinegar and even coco drinks, etc.

He said that VCO according to studies bears low glycemic index, reduces bad cholesterol, help reduction of virus in AIDS HIV victims according to testimonies, strengthens immune systtem, easily burns belly fats, among others.

Nunez further reported that Congressman Damian Mercado is also supporting for the VCO industry establishment as he linked with German consultants to help in the construction of plants to ensure that VCO production quality shall be at par with those sold at international market.

However, there is the need to campaign for organic coconut farming in order to satisfy the international accreditation agencies' requirement for organic coconutts for VCO production.

Early this month, Cong. Mercado atttended to the personal visit of Chinese traders, who are buying VCOs from the province and willing to partner with local businessmen in setting up VCO plants in the province.

One VCO plant establishment is estimated to cost a maximum of P15M, it was learned.

Meanwhile, PD Nunez looks forward to the day when marginal farmers will soon benefit with stable copra prices of coconuts as soon as VCO industry shall be operational in the province. Unlike today , when coconu farrmers selling the traditional copra are suffering from the very low and unstable prices set by most traders. (ajc/esg/PIA8 SoLeyte)