Coco oil exports slumped 40% in H1 on output drop
Philippine exports of coconut oil (CNO) slumped by 40 percent year-on-year in the first semester amid the lingering effects of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” and a cyclical drop in output, according to the United Coconut Association of the Philippines (UCAP).
UCAP executive director Yvonne Agustin said the volume of CNO shipped out from January to June shrank to 395,456 tons from 660,382 tons previously.
Agustin said, however, that in June alone, exports of the country’s top agricultural dollar earner grew “relatively flat” at 2 percent to reach 73, 920 tons as buyers continued to replenish their supplies, particularly in Europe and the United States.
“On a monthly basis, (CNO) exports have started to recover since last May,” she added.
Also, Agustin in a statement expressed concern among producers of virgin CNO about the government’s use of chemicals in a multi-treatment campaign to control a coconut scale insect (CSI) infestation that currently affects the Calabarzon region.
Government scientists have recommended the use of neonicotinoids, to be injected in tree trunks, along with the pruning of infested coconut fronds, spraying of organic insecticide, release of insects that prey on CSI, and application of fertilizer.
Agustin said virgin CNO producers were worried that too much chemical use may have “negative impact on organic certification which requires no chemicals, no chemical pesticides, and no inorganic fertilizers”.
She added that, fortunately, there was at least one organic solution available in the market that meets the government requirements for the campaign against the devastating CSI.
Last May, the Food and Agriculture Organization said Yolanda’s devastation of coconut trees in the Philippines in November 2014 was expected to take its toll on the global output of copra and the trade of coconut oil in 2014.
In its latest semestral Food Outlook report, the United Nations agency said that world production of copra was expected to shrink by 4.5 percent to 5.6 million tons this year from 5.9 million tons previously.
“This year’s global output [of copra] is set to fall as a result of Typhoon Haiyan, which inflicted serious damage on coconut palms in the Philippines,” the FAO said in the 142-page report.
The FAO also forecast a decrease in worldwide exports of CNO, which is produced from copra.
In the six months to April 2014, the FAO observed a 0.6-percent easing of vegetable oil production— including CNO production—which settled at 196 million tons from 193 million tons in the year-ago period.
“With regard to [CNO], the anticipated drop in global exports is entirely due to the Philippines’ reduced copra harvest,” the FAO said.
The Philippines is one of the world’s largest exporters of coconut oil.
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