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11:58 PM April 2nd, 2012

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By: Ramon Tulfo, April 2nd, 2012 11:58 PM

There’s no use crying over the contentious coconut levy fund that the Supreme Court has ruled on recently.

Coconut farmers—plantation owners and their “kasama” or tenants—are about to become rich even without the coco levy fund.

There’s a great demand for coconut water, known locally as “buko” juice, in the US, Europe and China.

The demand for coconut water, now a better substitute for cola and energy drinks, is such that Brazil, a major supplier of oranges to the US, is currently engaged in the massive planting of coconut trees.

Some Brazilian orange plantation owners are switching to coconut, even if the trees will bear fruit in 10 years, because of the very high return of investment.

So while Brazil and other countries are undertaking the massive planting of coconut trees, the Philippines can cash in on the current demand for buko juice worldwide.

The Philippines is the world’s No. 1 coconut-grower.

Let’s forget about copra, a coconut by-product that goes into the making of soap and cooking oil.

These products are sold cheap because of its low demand worldwide.

Coconut has other more expensive by-products than copra which are also in demand in the world market.

Among these are the much vaunted virgin coconut oil, which has many medicinal uses; husk, used in making car upholstery and rope; and coconut shells, for making charcoal.

The world has not yet heard much of the potent alcoholic drinks made from coconut—“tuba” and “lambanog.”

When properly marketed, there is a strong possibility that tuba and lambanog will find  a niche among wine and liquor drinkers in the world.

* * *

Before Administrator Lito Banayo of the National Food Authority (NFA) imports rice in huge quantities, he will have to ask permission from Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

President Noy has made Alcala a virtual rice czar by having him approve all rice importations by the NFA.

In the past, the NFA was an independent agency.

* * *

Alcala has made a fearless forecast: by 2014, the country will be self-sufficient in rice that there will be no need to import the staple, he said.

To reach his goal, Alcala has ordered the Department of Agriculture to give more importance to rice and vegetable farmers by giving them easy access to farm inputs like fertilizer and equipment.

Alcala told this columnist his dream is to make the country progressive through its agricultural produce.

That’s why he wants the country to cash in on the great demand for buko juice worldwide, he added.

* * *

Aren’t government officials and employees banned from playing at the casinos?

A Pasay City prosecutor loses from P200,000 to P300,000 almost every night at the casinos.

He is a VIP card-holder, meaning he is  a big-time player.

A customs appraiser plays at the casino in Tagaytay City twice a week and loses P100,000 every time.

Where do these people get all that money to play at the gambling tables?

* * *

Binay bats for one verdant nuclear-free planet—headline.

The Vice President should also bat for a Makati City that is free from “B” (for Binay) signs and posters.

The Binays must be very obsessed with their name.

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