Economic Importance of Macapuno

macapunoMacapuno is a mutant coconut obtained from the coconut tree. lt looks like the regular coconut fruit except that its meat inside is completely filled with a jellylike thick white meat and does not contain water. Presently, embryo culture technology (ECM) is the only way to mass produce a pure bearing macapuno palms.

Macapuno has a high economic value because it is not only used in making Filipino delicacies but also used in many pharmaceutical and personal care products. On April 20, 2009, Sunstar Davao featured the economic importance of macapuno entitled “Rediscovering the potentials of makapuno”. The researchers told them that macapuno may be used to make hand and body lotion, hand sanitizers, facial masks, hair cream and hair gel, shampoo, conditioner and even a biodegradable edible film (which can be used as wrapper for candies and lumpia).

According to Dr. Maria Judith B. Rodriguez, macapuno meat has a high content of galactomannan, a polysaccharide that is also classified as a gum, which gives the macapuno a jellylike solid endosperm (meat) that is made into delicacies and a highly viscous liquid endosperm that is thrown away during the process.

It was the coconut waste that got her interest. She said that newly harvested macapuno liquid endosperm, when applied as is on the hands and other parts of the body (including hair), has a soothing and moisturizing effect. According to her, galactomannan has a natural hydrating function making it suitable for formulations that treat dry, damaged or aged skin.

The Albay-based coconut research center is working on formulating facial masks, hair cream and gel, shampoo and conditioner, and a body massage lotion out of the macapuno. It also doing studies on making macapuno sanitizers.

Because of its wide and high economic value, we can say that culturing and planting macapuno has a big market potential in local food producers, in the pharmaceutical-personal care industry, and in the international market. And this is the reason why the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) urges Filipino farmers to plant more macapuno in their farms. It is a profitable crop as one can realize a monthly income of around P800,000 once the trees start to bear nuts. Currently, a nut of the macapuno variety costs nearly 10 times than the ordinary coconut.

Sources: “Export potential of makapuno cited“- Manila Bulletin 2006.
“Rediscovering the potential of Macapuno” – Sunstar Davao 2009

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