MAKATI CITY, Philippines – The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) revealed there is a close competition in the local production of coconut oil—the primary byproduct of copra—in the market.
PCA Administrator Romulo Dela Rosa said the country’s coconut oil is now being pushed back by palm oil and soybean oil which are cheaper and do not require importation tariffs under the ASEAN Integration. ASEAN Integration allows member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to freely bring in their products to other member states free of taxes. In case of palm oil production, Malaysia and Indonesia own the largest palm plantation among the ASEAN countries.
“Kung maganda ang harvest ng soya at maganda rin ang production ng palm oil, necessarily bababa yung presyo nila. It will pull down coconut oil…because international prices ang nagdedetermine nyan,” explained Dela Rosa.
(If the harvest of soya is good and the production of palm oil is doing well, their prices will necessarily go down. It will pull down coconut oil…because international prices determine the price of coconut oil.)
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, on the other hand, claimed that smuggling is the reason behind the drop in prices of copra in the country.
“I found out that the reason why copra prices have gone down is that there’s so much smuggling of copra from the southern countries,” revealed Piñol.
However, Secretary Piñol said that as much as he wanted to act on the matter, his hands are tied as there is no executive order yet that would formalize the transfer of PCA under the control of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Meanwhile, PCA is now planning to encourage more investors to revive the country’s coconut industry and venture into other byproducts other than coconut oil.
Other products where PCA eyes more revenue including coco water, virgin coconut oil, coco flour, and biodiesel. With these additional products, the PCA believes that the price of coconut in the market will bounce back.
At present, 90 percent of the country’s copra production is made into coconut oil and around three million of the country’s farmers are into the coconut industry. – Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo