By: SA Marietta C. Perez, Quezon I

Although summer is quite a few months over, the Philippine Coconut Authority - Quezon I Provincial Office remains persistent with its summertime campaign for the harvesting and selling of young coconut and coconut water dubbed as the Summer Buko Festival.

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It was also intended to promote the consumption of buko juice instead of soft drinks and other unhealthy drinks to beat the summer heat and even just for daily hydration.

"A nutritious, cleansing and refreshing juice” as the tagline of PCA-Quezon I goes, they continue launching buko festivals to inculcate the nutritional benefits of the popular juice and the need to reduce and eventually eliminate the dependence of coconut farmers on copra and diversify into other coconut products.

During the Harvest Festival in Pagbilao, Quezon last August 27, buko festival was launched yet again. It was participated by employees of the local government unit (LGU) and various farmer organizations of different agricultural commodity sector in the said municipality.

Every sector showcased the most outstanding farm produce or “pinaka-” in their respective booths and were given due recognition and awards. Honorable Mayor Shierie Ann P. Palicpic and Provincial Coconut Development Manager (PCDM) Joselito R. Alcantara graced the ribbon cutting and opening of booths for the agri-fair which lasted for five days. Buko and other coconut products were displayed in the PCA booth.
Similar launching was held at Southern Luzon State  University-Tayabas  Satellite  Campus on August 1. Some 300 freshmen students and members of Parent-Teacher Association participated the event.
In both occasions, PCDM Alcantara reminded the audience to continue cultivating their coconuts despite the low prices and ended his message with: “It is indeed a blessing that our province is populated with abundant coconut because of its many beneficial effect to our health. Only that, Filipinos are not using their coconuts the way other developed countries who are health-conscious do and even have to buy pricy coconut products. We Filipinos should be the first to enjoy this wonderful blessing. We can improve our health and we can help our coconut farmers as well. Let us prove that coconut is the tree of life”.
Indeed, an event will never be complete without the ceremonial buko toast. It has become a rewarding habit of PCA in hopes   of encouraging coconut farmers  to  engage in buko trading especially now that the copra industry is still at its low.

The campaign will continue in all municipalities until such time that the LGUs exert more effort in advocating for buko by starting with themselves such as having buko juice as official drink in meetings, events and other activities in their localities.