Global glut drastically pulls down copra prices
Local copra prices plunged by close to 50 percent year-on-year last week as the coconut industry continues to suffer from an oversupply in the world market.
Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) administrator Romulo dela Rosa said the industry had now reached a “crisis point,” as the average farm gate price of the commodity has fallen to P19.09 a kilogram on Oct. 16 from P37.02 a kilo last year.
Crude coconut oil prices have also plummeted to $880 a ton from a high of $1,850 a ton during the comparative period.
Dela Rosa said the industry badly needed government intervention as coconut farmers and farm workers are struggling under the weight of drastically lower copra prices.
United Coconut Association of the Philippines Inc. chair Dean Lao noted that this year was a good year for coconut farmers “weather-wise,” but the same cannot be said in terms of their earnings given the glut in the world market where most of the local copra goes.
“Production this year is good but the market did not grow. We have to create more markets because prices keep falling down,” he said.
The Department of Agriculture and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) are preparing a five-year road map for the revival of the coconut industry, considered one of the country’s top dollar earners.
“The PCA was directed to allocate P10 million for the drafting of the coconut industry road map in what could be considered as the first attempt by government to give focus on the industry which involves five million farming families,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in a Facebook post.
Aside from declining copra prices, other problems being faced by the industry include infestation and slow replanting programs.
Piñol added that the “obsession on the coco levy fund issue … virtually stalled all efforts to rehabilitate and revive the coconut industry.”
Lao said they had already recommended the creation of more agricultural infrastructure as well as new markets for the industry, to make it easier for farmers to be integrated in high-value markets especially overseas.
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