A couple from the town of Carmen in North Cotabato are among this year’s Landbank Gawad Entrepreneur awardees.
Jerry John Taray and Jocelyn Taray were given the award because of their outstanding contribution to the economic development of their community.
The Tarays are behind the Treelife, a company that produces premium coco sugar and coconut syrup that are not only available in the Philippines but are also exported to Europe, US, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and across Asia.
The couple started their business in 2004, tilling 50 hectares of continuous hilly land in Sitio Kilmbay, Brgy. Kibudtungan, Carmen under the Green Philippines Program. Only five years after, the coconut trees started producing fruits. In 2011, the couple started the company Treelife, embarking on coco sugar production through the help of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).
The Treelife farm provides a sense of community among the workers, most of them locals.
For a target of eight tons of coco sugar per month, around 25 to 30 workers are needed — each to collect about 90 to 120 liters of coconut sap. A worker will take home P405 to P540 pay per day.
The women workers, who are tasked to cook the sugar, are paid between P250 and P350 per day, depending on the number of kilos of produced sugar.
Before the Landbank award, the company was also awarded Global Brand Award in 2013, and the Global Excellence Award in 2015.
Treelife coco sugar has been also been showcased at the Biofach organic fair in Germany.