Ms. Rogelyn C. Calago and PSTD Eufresnie Ann D. Simbajon of DOST Misamis Occidental, Mr. Mark Anthony D. Artigas of LGU-Oroquieta City, Mr. Kenneth Jhester P. Haim and Mr. Johan Pellsäter of OroqCoco.
The Department of Science and Technology-Misamis Occidental continues to support a local cooperative in Misamis Occidental to innovate products made of coconut through science and technology interventions.
Oroquieta City Agricultural Cooperative (OroqCoco) primarily aims to provide work and career opportunities to women so that mothers will not seek employment outside the country since 2018.
OroqCoco allocated almost two years for product development, staff training, the establishment of production techniques, good workflow, and optimization of operations after acquiring knowledge in the manufacture of various innovative products derived from coconut. It started with merely five (5) products, namely, Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO), natural and spiced coconut vinegar, coconut aminos (comparable with soy sauce), and coconut honey.
Alongside the aspiration of OroqCoco to create all-natural, high-quality, vegan products utilizing local raw materials in Oroquieta City, the cooperative also aspired to penetrate large markets. These areas will enable them to sell the products that would popularize them and thus increase their productivity. But for their products to enter this kind of market, OroqCoco recognized the need to secure pertinent licenses and certifications from the regulatory bodies. This lack motivated them to seek assistance from the Department of Science and Technology.
In the third quarter of 2020, the Department of Science and Technology – Misamis Occidental through the Local Grants In Aid (LGIA) program released PhP368,075.00 worth of product laboratory analyses and printed labels to Hon. Lemuel Meyrick M. Acosta, City Mayor, and Mr. Kenneth Jhester P. Haim of OroqCoco. DOST-Misamis Occidental also extended consultancy assistance in onsite production inspection, current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and Halal training, and preparation of Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP) manuals.
In February 2021, OroqCoco gladly received its aspired License To Operate (LTO) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This endeavor inspired them to innovate more products, resulting in three additional product lines (coco liquid seasoning, coconut peanut butter, and balsamic coconut vinegar). There was also an increase of 34% of sales within six months this year compared to the previous year. They also employed additional five regular employees. They have doubled the number of display stores and online selling platforms from 10 to 20. They also became a supplier to a customer requiring 500 bottles of VCO every month. Currently, the cooperative acquired Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) of coconut aminos and coconut honey; and ongoing registration of other four (4) products.
“Salamat kaayo sa tabang sa Department of Science and Technology kay kamo ang nahimo namo nga tulay para makakuha mi sa LTO ug CPR gikan sa FDA.” (Thank you very much to the Department of Science and Technology for bridging the gap for us to acquire the LTO and CPR from the FDA), said Mr. Haim, one of the Board of Directors of OroqCoco.