Coconut pushed to mitigate weak overall PH exports
The Philippines is hopeful that it can raise the country’s coconut products exports in overseas markets amid the recent decline in the trade of electronic products and other goods, citing its potential as the fastest-growing commodity group in terms of export sales.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Wednesday that the export value of coconut products reached $1.6 billion during in January to August this year, recording a 96.2 -percent year-to-date growth rate.
“Overall, coconut oil exports have consistently been increasing at double-digit rates compared to three time periods: 2021, 2020, and the prepandemic average from 2017 to 2019,” the trade department said in a statement.
Compared with the same month a year ago, export earnings of coconut oil in August increased to $168.2 million, which is 26.6 percent higher compared to the $132.9 million in 2021.
Interest in the potential of the coconut export industry comes on the heels of a 2-percent decline in the Philippines’ export sales, which went from $6.5 billion in August 2021 to $6.4 billion in the same month this year.
The DTI said export figures were pulled down by the year-on-year decline in exports of electronic products, other mineral products, machinery and transport equipment, and chemicals, all of which comprise 66.5 percent of the country’s total exports in August 2022.
Developing the coconut export industry
Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual said they have been at the forefront of promoting the coconut sector under the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan.
Under the program, Pascual said they have been giving assistance to coconut farmer enterprises in entering and growing their presence in global markets through the implementation of extensive market research and strategies for the promotion of coconut products.
“We are confident that with the right set of marketing strategies, coconut products will gain more traction in international markets, especially as more markets discover the numerous health benefits of coconut products, particularly coconut oil,” Pascual said.
Citing Fortune Business Insights’ regional forecast and COVID-19 impact analysis on coconut derivatives for 2020-2027, the Trade department said there were several positive outcomes which supported the coconut derivative market growth during the outbreak of the pandemic.
The DTI said this included the rising awareness on the benefits of coconut oil usage in the treatment of diseases.
“In the Philippines, scientists have also started studying virgin coconut oil as a potential treatment for coronavirus. The rapid spread of veganism globally has also resulted in increased demand for plant-based products, including coconut oil and coconut milk which are becoming considered globally as alternatives to animal fats and animal milk,” the DTI said further.
Promotion in overseas markets
Earlier this month, the DTI showcased the local coconut industry, as well as the coffee and cacao sectors in Malaysia in an effort to get more exposure from the Philippines’ tenth largest trading partner and eleventh biggest export market.
The DTI led 16 manufacturers of coconut, coffee and cacao products to the 8th Selangor International Expo which ran from Oct. 6 to 9 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The four-day trade expo is an influential food and beverage trade exhibition that focuses on the global food and beverage industry hosted by the Selangor state government.
Based on the export potential assessment undertaken by the International Trade Center—a joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development—the Philippines has the potential to increase its coconut exports by $620.2 million, coffee by $1.4 million and cacao by $12.5 million.