(Published in the Manila Standard Today newspaper on /2012/May/17)
Sorsogon — Bicol pili industry is processing more pulps and kernels to keep up with the demand of the market.
The sector was pioneered by an agriculturist and entrepreneur, the provincial high-value crop commodity coordinator, said.
“It was started by a colleague, Ms. Minda Yee, who is known for the Leslie Pili Products,” Narciso Cayetano, agriculturist, said, noting that production of pili oil grew in the last two years.
“We produced 300 liters of pulp oil per month in 2010 and increased to 400 liters this year and may double or triple our production if machine will process,” Minda Yee told Manila Standard.
She began producing pili delicacies in 1995 and extracting pili oil in 2000.
Bicol represents 61 percent of raw pili produce in the country, Dolores Ricafranca, Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office Superintendent, said.
The demand for pili oil is expected to rise as virgin coconut oil has been observed to be weakening in the market.
Typhoons, drought, and pest that paralyzed production of coconut in large volume may have affected virgin coconut oil, according to Philippine Coconut Authority.
“Reming, Milenyo, drought, and brontispa have caused 50 percent drop in the coconut yield and might have affected virgin coconut oil,” Alejandro Olaguera, PCA division chief, said.
Yee said her clients consist of makers of health and vanity products led by Rosalina Tan, even as the oil is finding its way into spas and therapeutic salons in the national capital region, Iloilo and Baguio.
“Only last December, Tan bought 1,000 liters of pili oil,” Yee said, which was confirmed by Trade department officer here.
Pili oil sells at P600 per liter. It is also packed in bottles–150 ml at P100, 250 ml for P200, and 500 ml at P350.
Scented pili oil is also available in mint and aroma of flowers and favored for its anti-oxidant effects and to restore color of graying hair, remove dandruff, moisturize skin, and has curative effects on skin disorders.
It can be also be used for salad dressing, manufacture of sardines, shortening, baking of cakes, and other food preparations.
A research program on pili was funded by the Bureau of Postharvest Research and Extension in the late 1990’s, said consortium director, Dr. Ninfa Pelea of BCARRD Albay in an e-mailed message. –– Oliver Samson