Davao’s dessicated coco featured in branded imported chocolate bar

Apr. 26, 2010

DAVAO CITY—Makers of global chocolate brands Snickers, M&Ms, and Twix has been importing desiccated coconut from Davao for its 250 million US dollar brand Bounty chocolate bar.

Mars, Incorporated sells Bountyto international markets like Europe, United States, and Russia.

Unique from other Mars chocolate bars, Bounty has a coconut filling covered with milk or dark chocolate.

The manufacturer’s commercial manager Fay Fay Choo was in Davao recently to further encourage coconut farmers to indulge in sustainable farming and, at the same time, offer technical trainings for the local farmers.

“A big chunk of the desiccated coconut that we import comes from the Philippines. About 15,000 tons are being imported every year,” she said. The company targets to increase this to about 100,000 tons by 2020.

Choo said that the international company chose Philippines, Mindanao in particular, because it has good soil, plenty of coconut trees, and literate farmers who are easily taught on how to properly apply advanced technology to produce quality product.

“We focus our sustainability efforts on training the farmers. It’s all about farmers. We continuously tell them that coconut is not enough. They have to supplement it and coco is a high value product that has a very good payback,” she said.

To further strengthen ties with local partners in desiccated coconut production, Mars,Inc now partners with ACDI/VOCA, an international non-profit organization and its latest project in Mindanao, CoCoPal.

CoCoPal, a 5.4 million US dollar USDA-funded project in Western and Southern Mindanao, is aimed to improve the income and food security of 25,000 farmers including a total of 125,000 indirect beneficiaries.

The project will achieve this through value chain growth and integration linked to a farming systems approach called ‘palayamanan’.

The Philippine Rice Research Institute developed the concept and promotes ‘palayamanan’, which combines rice with other high-value crops through the efficient use of farm resources, to ensure that farmers can produce more, through sustainable agricultural methods. (PIA XI)

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