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MANILA, Philippines -- In this column last June 25, we reported on the Xylose Coco Sugar, a special kind of sugar that is extracted from the coconut shell. The company that is doing this for the first time in the world is the Toyota Tsusho Philippines, Inc. located at the DADC Economic Zone in Brgy. Darong, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.
An information material was prepared by Angelica Laurilla and sent to us by Edgar Allan Pasaol from the Department of Agriculture –Region 12.
The info material tells us that “Xylose is a natural sweetener out of coconut shell. It is also commonly known as wood sugar and is obtained from the xylan-rich portion of hemicellulose which is present in plant cell walls and fiber of coconut shells. It can also be found in berries, spinach, broccoli, pears and corn cobs.”
The info continues that Xylose is safe for food use, is toxin-free and contains zero calorie. It helps fight infections, restores hormonal imbalances; it is antibacterial, antifungal and contains healing agents. Its by-product called Xylitol is a sweetener used in making chewing gum and toothpaste since it has anti-cavity attributes.
The technology used in extracting Xylose from coconut shell was developed in Korea and is being used for the first time in the Philippines. CJ Toyota Tsusho invested $55 million in the project which is more than P5 billion in Philippine money.
The company can produce 15,000 tons of Xylose per year. One concern, however, is sourcing enough raw materials to keep the plant busy. The company is currently buying coconut shell with 16 to 19 percent moisture content at P4 to P5 per kilo.
Local agricultural officials welcome the establishment of the processing plant in Sta. Cruz. DA Region 12 Director Amalia Jayag-Datukan has offered whatever assistance the DA could do to help the company obtain enough coconut shell for processing.
She invited the company’s general manager, Son Dae Ho, to attend the region’s quarterly Agri-Pinoy Information Caravan which is conducted in the four provinces in the region. This will help them promote their own product as well as to inform the farmers that there is a market for their coconut shell.
Agriculture Sec. Proceso J. Alcala also visited the company during its inauguration. He assured the com-pany officials of the assistance from the DA in sourcing their raw material needs. At the same time, he requested them to convert the byproduct of Xylose manufacture (molasses) into fertilizer that can be used to fertilize coconuts.