Hope in VCO

Don’t look now but virgin coconut oil VCO) is reportedly showing promising result in managing COVID-19 cases. 

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said the use of VCO in the treatment of Covid-19 has shown positive results in patients with mild symptoms.

A company located at the Southern Philippine Province of Cotabato called TreeLife has high hopes for VCO  as it not only help treat Covid-19 but will spur company’s growth and help coconut farmers as well.

“When we heard of the study of VCO having the potential in lessening the risk of Covid-19 we were hopeful, but as the study was still in its early trial, us as a company continued operations as per usual,”  Rochella Marie Taray, marketing and export manager of TreeLife, answered to questions sent by this writer via email. 

Taray said the company sees a large potential for growth with the increase in demands for VCO, however, due to restrictions and quarantine protocols it is currently difficult to hire people and expand. 

“So as of the moment we continue as is in producing for our current clients who have been with us even since before Covid-19 started. Potentially, there is a large opportunity,” she said. 

TreeLife has been producing organic VCO since 2016 and started exporting it to other countries in 2017 with Europe as main export market. In the middle of the pandemic, the company continue exporting to Europe for the past four to five years.

“We have an agreement with our buyers that we can’t reveal who they are, but our main export market is Europe,” she said.  

TreeLife has just started marketing VCO domestically this year as it just received the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) last December 2019 permitting the company to sell locally.

Taray said VCO contributes 50 percent of the company’s sales. She said with regards to the sales domestically, and comparing the sales when TreeLife started selling locally early this year, there has been an increase of 30 percent in sales. She added that the company’s main outlet of sales domestically is the online sales, social media marketing and resellers.

She added that they are looking at the potential of having distributors for specific regions.

As for export, Taray said there has been a 20 percent increase compared to the first quarter.

“With this we hope to see this continue to rise for the final quarter,” she said.  

VCO is among flagship products of TreeLife. The company uses an average of 20,000 to 40,000 coconuts per day to produce highly nutritious VCO. The company is poising its organic coconut oil as a great addition to everyone’s daily diet and believe to help stimulate the activity and proper functioning of the heart and provides energy.   

TreeLife not just focus on health but empowering the local coco farmers as well by employing more than 800 farmers who help in harvesting coconuts and in processing their products.

The company’s employees are local residents of the surrounding area and providing them livelihood and additional income for their families. 

With the goal of providing a sustainable and reliable source of organic products, at the same time helping to uplift the local community by offering the chance to work with a steady source of income. 

TreeLife also provides standard training to each employee in production of world class organic produce, thereby uplifting the community and spirit of the farm.

“The farmers working with us have been with us for the last three years under our programs in organic and fairtrade,” Taray said.

Carrying the tagline “TreeLife, we are farmers, producers, and exporters”, the company started farming in 2004, tilling 50 hectares of land in Sitio Kilambay, Barangay Kibudtungang, Carmen, Cotabato Province under the Green Philippine Program. 

It was established by the couple Jerry and Jocelyn Taray. It was in February of 2011, when the couple chanced to meet with the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), which led them to be aware of the studies in regards to the importance of coconut sugar and other products derived from the coconut tree.

Apart from organic VCO, TreeLife’s main products are organic coconut sugar, banana chips, coconut flour, and coconut wine. 
Taray said the company is also looking at venturing intercropping cardava banana between coconuts as additional income since the company is also in banana chips to help more farmers.  

“We are a company who is proud to be a part of this generation in providing premium quality products, as well as, helping to promote a healthier lifestyle to consumers all over the world,” she said.