The Board of Investments (BOI) recently gave the nod to the PHP55.9 million project of Rizal VCO Phils. Corp. as a new export producer of virgin coconut oil (VCO). The project qualified under the export activities list of the 2017 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP).

The firm is expected to produce up to 748,800 liters of VCO annually in its plant in Bocaue, Bulacan as operations started on August 2017 with 15 personnel. The project utilizes a process that will convert refined/bleached/deodorized (RBD) coconut oil into VCO, a process which they claim is groundbreaking in the country. The RBD coconut oil will be mixed with their proprietary mixture of herbal extracts composed of papaya, banana, carrot, and calamansi that will serve as the catalyst to convert the RBD coconut oil to VCO. This production system is mostly “hands-free” from raw material reception up to loading of final output. To attain the finished VCO product, the firm uses a centrifuge separator machine and a filtering machine to deliberately remove “fatty” content that is formed after a day of mixture and fermentation.

“This innovative approach would sustain the growing popularity of coconut oil products in our export markets which will bring more jobs and additional income opportunities for our countrymen,” Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said.

The enterprise will initially market its VCO as raw material for the manufacture of cosmetics and personal care products, and for (topical) use in health and wellness applications. Targeted markets are countries in the Middle East, especially Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Coconut oil exports have been on an upward trend in 2017 based on figures released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). For the first half of the year, coconut oil exports reached US$792.3 million, up 88.2 percent from US$421.1 million in the same period in 2016.

According to the firm, VCO is a far more stable prime raw material ingredient (for cosmetic and personal care product applications), unlike the current VCOs in the market. Presently, VCOs available in the market are not extensively used in the manufacture of cosmetic and personal care products because they have low stability factor when used in large portions in products like creams, soaps, shampoos and the like.

The firm’s products will have no coco-nutty smell and free from rancid odors and can be used as raw material ingredient for cosmetic products which are mostly topically applied. The project’s VCO output conforms to the Philippine National Standard for Virgin Coconut Oil set by the DTI Bureau of Product Standards (BPS).