By Myrrh Caithlin L. Gutierrez
ONE of the proudly Filipino products – the Philippine Makapuno was brought to the 5th Annual Coconut Festival, Superfoods Expo and Marketplace held at Toronto, Canada on August 25-27, 2018. This is through the invitation and assistance of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region IV-A and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Toronto.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) -CALABARZON showcased the promotion and commercialization of technologies on Makapuno by displaying processed Makapuno products such as Makapuno Lotion, Makapuno hand cream, and Makapuno ice cream made by the Philippine Coconut Research and Development Foundation (PCRDF), as well as Makapuno flakes developed by DOST-ITDI (Industrial Technology Development Institute).
The potential target market- the consumers, distributors, technology adopters, and manufacturers, tried both food and non-food products displayed in the Makapuno booth, and they were all pleased.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce- Toronto and the PTIC held a trade forum and launching of the Makapuno Breakthrough Program. It was graced by the presence of the Philippine Ambassador to Canada, Ambassador Petronilla P. Garcia, who expressed her delight with how the Philippines and Canada are enjoying very good trade relations, and how the launching of the program will be of great contribution to the trade relations. She also mentioned that Coconut products are among the top exports to Canada and that it is very apt to launch the Makapuno Breakthrough Project during this time.
Hon. Rosalita Prospero, the Philippine Consul General, was also present in the event. In her speech, she mentioned how the project will be beneficial not only for the Filipinos in the Philippines, but also for the Filipino investors in Canada.
The different agency representatives also presented their agencies’ contributions to the development of the project. Ms. Erlene C. Manohar, OIC-Administrator of the Research and Development Branch of the Philippine Coconut Authority, discussed about the Philippine Makapuno Production and Prospects. Dr. Alexander R. Madrigal, the Regional Director of the Department of Science and Technology-CALABARZON presented the Philippine Makapuno Roadmap as well as the technologies on processing Makapuno. Meanwhile Ms. Marcelina S. Alcantara, Assistant Regional Director of the Department of Trade and Industry- Region 4A presented the Philippine Makapuno Industry and Agribusiness Investment Promotion Program.
The forum also paved way for the launching of the project: “Transforming Overseas Filipinos to Overseas Filipino Investors: The Philippine Makapuno Industry and Agribusiness Investment Promotion Program”. The project is a result of the collaboration of different agencies who saw the promising economic potential of the Makapuno Industry in the Philippines. It aims to invite overseas investors to fund the development of a 111-hectare Makapuno Island in Alabat, Quezon. Aside from the return of investments, the investors can also extend their hands in addressing the vicious cycle of poverty in the Philippines and helping the marginalized sector as this projects is aimed towards improving the lives of coconut farmers and their families.