Hosted Date : 04.07.2012


COCOTECH is the permanent panel on coconut technology of the APCC. This gathering of coconut development workers, researchers, farmers, processors, importers, exporters and government policy makers in APCC member countries is held once every two years. It is a venue for the exchange of ideas on new technologies, processes, products, market trends and prospects, related to the coconut industry. The COCOTECH Meeting is open to interested individuals from the government and private sectors of the coconut industry worldwide.

Coconut Sugar too good for diabetics, indicates a study in Philippines

Kochi, July 4: Coconut sugar, made from coconut product, is found to be too good for human health, especially for diabetics.

A natural sweetener, coconut sugar has a glycemic index of 35 and is classified as a low glycemic index food. Consumption of coconut sap sugar is good for people who wanted to reduce and maintain weight as it helps in the proper control and management of diabetes mellitus. It may also lower serum cholesterol and thus lower, if not prevent, risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease.

Stating this, Ms Yvonee T V Agustine, Executive Director, United Coconut Associations of the Philippines, the third largest coconut producing country in the world behind India, said her country produces coconut sugar on a large scale besides other coconut based products and by-products for global exports. Ms Yvonee is one of the Philippines delegates attending the 45th COCOTECH-2012 in session here since July 02.

Coconut sugar export from Philipines has grown from 11,200 kilos in 2009 to 36,310 kilos in 2010 and exponentially to 70,000 kilos in 2011, with the list of importing countries spreading from Japan and the US in 2009 to the Middle East, Asia, and Europe last year. Virgin coconut oil is the other product exported from Philippines, she said.

The top 10 non-traditional export items from Philippines in 2011, based on foreign exchange generation, were: (1) Glycerin, (2) Virgin coconut oil, (3) Toilet/Bath soap, (4) Coconut water, (5) Coconut milk powder, (6) Nata de coco, (7) Liquid coconut milk, (8) Fresh coconuts, (9) Shampoo, and (10) Coir products. The product basket netted US$ 112.794 million in exports during the year 2011, a sharp leap from US$65.447 million earned from these products in the previous year. The increase in export earnings of Philippines was driven by massive rise in export of virgin coconut oil, coconut water, coconut milk powder, liquid coconut milk, and fresh coconuts, Ms Yvonee added.

Unlike in the Philippines, coconut oil is not consumed as edible oil in the importing countries and so coconut oil is able to compete directly with palm kernel oil in industrial sectors as both these oils could be used interchangeably in almost all industrial uses due to their identical fatty acid composition. Both oils are called lauric oil because of their high lauric fatty acid content.

In world trade, coconut oil competes with 16 other fats and oils where market leaders are palm oil, soybean oil, rapeseed oil, and sunflower oil. Coconut oil accounts for only 3.2 per cent of total oils and fats traded globally. However, the Philippines takes leadership in the coconut oil trade, accounting for 48.5% of the world coconut oil trade. Being a minority in oils/fats trade, it is only a price taker and largely takes cue from price movements in the international market, notably in soybean oil and palm oil futures markets which in turn are also influenced by external factors such as metals and other commodities, financial markets, and global macroeconomic developments. Currently, the market watches developments in Eurozone notably in Greece, Italy, Spain as well as economic indicators in the US and China for guidance. Export of coconut products from Philippines consisted of 40 products and by products shipped to 103 destinations a decade ago with a revenue of US$ 618.4 million which rose to nearly USD2 billion, at USD1.96 billion to be exact in 2011. The graph of exporting countries also rose 115 from 103 while the size of the product remained almost static during the period In India, Lakshadweep is the lone producer of coconut sugar, on a large scale, for exports.