Coco oil exports up 32%
Coconut oil (CNO) exports last year surpassed the target as expected, jumping by 32 percent to 1.12 million metric tons in copra terms, according to the United Coconut Associations of the Philippines.
Preliminary data from UCAP show that outbound shipments of CNO increased from 852,234 MT in 2012 despite Typhoon “Pablo” which ravaged coconut farms in parts of Mindanao in December of that year.
UCAP executive director Yvonne Agustin told reporters that first-semester exports drove the surge in volume. Another factor is the delay in the implementation of an increase in the mandated blend of coco methyl esther (CME) and diesel.
Currently, the requirement is for a CME-diesel blend of at least 2 percent. The National Biofuels Board is still considering a proposal to raise the mandated blend to a minimum of 5 percent CME content, also called B5.
Agustin earlier said that with the use of B5 coming much later than UCAP expected, CNO stocks would be made available for the overseas market instead of being used domestically for blending with diesel.
The industry’s target was initially set at 900,000 MT, which was eventually raised to 1.1 million MT following a strong showing in the first half.
According to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, coconut oil remained the sector’s top dollar earner with $538.3 million in the six months to June last year.
However, in terms of value, coconut oil showed the weakest growth for the period at just 0.3 percent.
From January to November, the rise in coconut oil shipments hit 37 percent, reaching 1.03 MT.
Agustin said the extent of effects of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” on the coconut industry was still being assessed, but she added that this might be felt over the next four years.
The United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization is adopting intercropping as a strategic means to help the Philippine coconut industry recover from the onslaught of Yolanda.
This boosts efforts of the Department of Agriculture (DA), which has been taking steps toward the revival of the domestic industry even before destructive weather conditions took a toll on the sector.
The FAO’s acting representative in the Philippines, Rajendra Aryal, said in an interview that the UN agency had crafted a proposal for international donors to fund recovery efforts for coconut farmers.
Aryal said that in Eastern Visayas alone, Yolanda-inflicted damage on 33 million trees was estimated at $340 million, or about P15 billion.
He added that more than a million coconut farmers needed help, and this was made even more urgent considering that Eastern Visayas was the second-biggest coconut producing region in the country.
“Of all commodities, coconut registered the highest losses accounting for 65.8 percent of the total reported production losses,” Aryal said.
Based on the FAO’s Yolanda strategic response plan, the agency wanted to raise $6.7 million to assist 19,600 households of small-scale coconut farmers.
“These farmers have lost their livelihood for six to nine years, the time coconut trees take to become productive again,” Aryal said.
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