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Increasing Farm Income Through Processing And Utilization Of Coconut Waste Products

Coconut farm wastes are abundant throughout the year. About 12.75 tons of dry ligno- cellulose residues per hectare are being generated annually from husks, spathes, peduncles, petioles, leaves with midribs and leafsheaths. In addition, at least five (5) tons per hectare per year of dry biomass are available from naturally grown indigenous small diameter, fast growing wood species that are usually left in the ground to rot after clearing or underbrushing. Agricultural residues are excellent alternative materials to conventional wood fiber for industrial purposes to help conserve forest resources. One such important industrial use offarm wastes includes, among other things, as raw materials in the processing and manufacture of cement-bonded hoards. Aside from their abundance and renewability, utilizing farm wastes will benefit farmers, industry and human health and environment. Farmers will earn extra income of about PhP 28.624.00 per hectare per year and the processing industry will have readily available alternative supply of raw materials from these farm cellulose-containing wastes. Furthermore, utilizing farm residues for industrial purposes is a much more environment- friendly practice than many residue disposal methods currently in use. Burning farm residues creates tons of tons of carbon monoxide that causes environmental pollution and ultimately poses health-hazard aside from its deleterious effect of destroying microorganisms that are naturally responsible for good soil aeration and fertility. A new product using farm wastes from coconut plantation is being developed as an alternative building material. The product, cocoflber-wood-cement board (CWCB), is made of coconut fiber from husk, spathe, peduncle, petiole and leafsheath, and shredded wood sapling or excelsior that are mixed separately with cement at a predetermined ratio of 70% cement to 15% coconut fiber and 15% excelsior by weight basis. The major equipment/machinery needed to produce CWCB include decorticating machine, shredding machine, blending machine, hydraulic press, trimmer and lifter. Estimated total investment cost of PhP 3.76 million is needed to establish a processing plant that includes equipment, building, land rental and working capital. Forty-five (45) hectares of fully bearing coconut plantation are needed for every processing plant to sustain the raw materials it needed. About 37,500 boards can be produced every year with internal rate of return of 35.20% and payback period of 2.68 years. If the boards would be used for exterior walls, interior partition panels, ceiling and corrugated roofing of buildings, about 135 units of2-bedroom bungalow-type houses with a total floor area of 67 square meters could he constructed annually for each established processing plant.

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