Copra prices still falling
The domestic price for copra fell by 36 percent this week despite government interventions to raise its farm-gate price.
This prompted the Philippine Coconut Authority to renew its call to the Department of Energy to raise the coconut methyl ester (CME) content in local biodiesel.
According to PCA’s price monitoring report, the average farm-gate price of copra as of March 16 was P14.34 a kilogram. In the same period last year, prices were at an average of P22.47 a kilo.
Coconut farmers have been suffering from the plummeting copra prices since last year following a supply glut in the world market. In an interview, PCA Administrator Romulo Dela Rosa said the farm-gate price should not be lower than P15 a kilo for farmers to survive.
While Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol announced on his Facebook page that the government-owned CIIF-Oil Mills Group had agreed to increase its mill-gate buying price to P20 a kilo, industry sources said this would not have a significant impact on the industry given the oil mill’s minimal capacity.
At present, CIIF owns four oil mills in the country but only two are operational.
PCA has been calling on the DOE to raise the CME content of biodiesel to 5 percent from 2 percent to address the issue.
Following the timeline of the government’s Philippine Energy Plan for 2012 to 2030, local diesel must contain at least 5 percent CME by 2020.
In a separate interview, Sen. Miguel Zubiri said the proposal to increase the CME content in local biodiesel “is not being supported by the DOE.”