Residents of Northern Samar province couldn't be prouder of their hard work after the province’s pili nuts made it to the International Food Exhibition (IFEX) in Dubai as one of the products featured in one of the world’s largest food exhibitions.
The provincial government announced on Tuesday the Philippine team of exhibitors are joining more than 120 countries who participated in one of the biggest exhibitions in the culinary world.
The team showcased an array of products from the variety of species of pili trees that flourished in the province after being brought to the island by birds coming from the Bicol Region.
These birds fed on pili nuts and left their droppings on the nearest part of Samar Island to Sorsogon, in Northern Samar.
Soon, the province was recognized as one of the producers of the nuts either in raw or processed state.
“Of all areas in Eastern Visayas, Northern Samar is the priority since it is the only province with pili nuts plantation influenced by Bicol Region’s cultivation practice. In fact, many pili nut processors in Bicol get their raw materials from their neighboring Northern Samar province,” the Department of Agriculture stated in an interview back in 2018.
As of 2018, about 15,000 pili trees have been planted in 90 to 100 hectares owned by local farmers in Lavezares, Allen, San Isidro, and Bobon which are towns close to the seaport that links Northern Samar to Sorsogon.
In addition, the DA has been distributing grafted planting materials that yielded after three years and produces 60 to 100 kilograms of nuts each year. Harvesting is yearround but peak harvest is June and July.
The combined efforts of the local government unit, various government agencies and the hard work of the locals, latest data showed that Northern Samar became the top pili-producing province in Eastern Visayas with about 769 metric tons a year.
This makes pili one of the thriving industries in the province with huge income potential and is now a known export product, previously exported to Germany, Korea Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and now Dubai.
Pili nuts also contain about 23 percent oil that may be used for lighting, cooking and in the manufacture of soaps, shampoos, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and industrial products. The shell makes an excellent cooking fuel and can be made into attractive ornaments.
While the province produces huge quantities of the sai product, the pili nut is endemic in the country and has different uses - its tree can be used for landscaping, the young shoots and the fruit pulp of pili are edible, its roots can prevent landslides, and a lot more.