The United Coconut Associations of the Philippines and VCO Producers and Traders Association of the Philippines on Friday assured consumers they have enough supply of virgin coconut oil amid the anticipated increase in demand.
They issued the statement after studies from the Department of Science and Technology revealed that VCO decreased symptoms in suspected and probable COVID-19 cases in as early as the second day of testing.
UCAP and VCO Philippines encouraged government agencies such as the Department of Health to support and promote the use of natural alternative options against COVID-19.
“Coconut oils and the inherent medium-chain triglyceride properties in it have long been recognized for their antiviral action,” UCAP executive director Yvonne Agustin said.
“Many who tested COVID-19 positive have recovered rapidly by incorporating coconut oil into their daily diet while those who are taking it as a supplement have seen their immunity strengthened,” she said.
According to UCAP and VCO Philippines, only 30 percent of the industry’s 73,000-metric-ton capacity was being utilized.
Local sales and export of VCO reached around 20,000 metric tons in 2019.
The local market consumed about 470 metric tons of VCO based on 2019 data.
Stakeholders expect a 20-percent growth in the demand by 2021 with renewed public interest in VCO, MCT and other coconut oil’s health benefits.
Dr. Toby Dayrit of Ateneo de Manila University, who helped craft the VCO testing protocol, said VCO was not the COVID-19 silver bullet. He said VCO should be taken as a supplement.
“VCO is a functional food. People should take it as a vitamin, not a drug, and while taking it, they should still follow the same safety protocols,” Dayrit said.