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Copra prices continue to tumble

Industry group banking on increase in diesel blend to prop up demand
/ 05:15 AM December 10, 2018

Despite government measures to alleviate the coconut industry from declining prices of copra, official data showed that the farm-gate price of the commodity continued to fall by more than half from year-ago levels.

Based on the price monitoring report conducted by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), the average farm-gate price of copra has gone down by 59.66 percent to P15.52 a kilo from P38.70 a year ago.

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It remains to be seen when prices will begin to pick up.

The country’s coconut industry heavily relies on the sale of copra. To stabilize farmers’ profit, the government is now beginning to diversify coconut products and exploring new markets to help around three million coconut producers.

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The Department of Agriculture is also looking to slap import duties on palm oil imports to protect local producers.

More than the declining copra prices, other problems being faced by the industry include infestation and slow replanting programs.

United Coconut Association of the Philippines Inc. chair Dean Lao said their group 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.

Groups continue to lobby for the additional use of coconut oil in domestic fuel despite opposition from economic managers who are saying that the move was “inflationary.”

Under the government’s Philippine Energy Plan 2012-2030, Philippine diesel should contain at least 5-percent coco methyl ester by 2020 or before the end of President Duterte’s term.

Among Asean countries, the country has the lowest content of vegetable oil blended in its domestic diesel. In Malaysia and Thailand, companies are mandated to include 7 percent and 20 percent of palm oil, respectively, in their biodiesel.

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