A New Model For Coconut Processing

THE CHALLENGE

 
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In the Philippines, Asenso means progress—and the country’s coconut sector desperately needs this.  Roughly nine million Filipinos who are dependent on coconut farming live in poverty. Coconut farmers earn so little that many are not investing in replanting to replace old, unproductive trees—causing coconut production to decline despite increasing demand.

The current model for coconut processing in the Philippines is both inequitable and inefficient.

Most high-value coconut products (e.g., virgin coconut oil and desiccated coconut) are manufactured in huge factories that are clustered in industrialized regions of the country.  These factories have a difficult time sourcing coconuts because they are in heavy competition with each other for the same supply of nearby coconuts.  Meanwhile, in more remote regions, coconuts are readily available but the cost of transporting them to the factories is just too high.

Farmers who live far from large coconut-processing factories have little choice but to process coconuts on their farms into a very low-value product called copra. Average annual incomes from copra are only $620 per year and copra-dependent communities are among the poorest in the Philippines.

Want to learn more about the challenges facing coconut farmers?  Click here for our blog post.

THE OPPORTUNITY

It turns out, with a few technological and process innovations, many high-value coconut products can be efficiently manufactured in a medium-sized factory while maintaining the same product quality as the mega-factories.

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CocoAsenso is developing a network of medium-scale factories in remote areas of the Philippines where coconuts can easily be sourced directly from local farmers.  This finally gives farmers an alternative to producing copra—but that’s not all.  Our deal with farmers is that if they sell us whole coconuts, we’ll give them a part-time job at the factory.  This will increase the average farmer’s income from coconuts by 85%.  Furthermore, the deep relationships we are building with local farmers will enable us to effectively work together to create thriving coconut farming communities where farmers have access to high-quality coconut seedlings, markets for crops planted between their trees, financial services and more.

With CocoAsenso you get quality products at a competitive price—and you'll be catalyzing change with coconut farmers.