Stakeholders want fresh coconut industry push
With the Philippines falling behind its Southeast Asian neighbors, an industry group said now is the best time to unlock more export opportunities to reclaim the top spot in the global coconut market.
Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) administrator Bernie Cruz said the country is no longer the leading coconut producer worldwide as Indonesia already clinched the top spot to date.
“We are still number one in terms of being an exporter, but we are lagging number two [in terms of production]. We have been overtaken by Indonesia already and about to be overtaken by India,” Cruz said.
Cruz said the country has to increase its yield to maintain its standing as the world’s number one exporter.
The PCA said earlier each coconut tree is producing 44 nuts. Through massive replanting, the yield can reach 100 nuts and, in turn, can increase the income of farmers.
“In terms of nuts, we are a little less than 15 billion per year and unfortunately, it’s not going up. It is decreasing annually although a little,” Cruz said.
It is projecting this year’s output to remain almost the same because coconut trees are aging and “as [a coconut tree] ages, the yield decreases.”
United Coconut Associations of the Philippines Inc. Chair Dean Lao Jr. said the group was aiming to develop export markets for value-added products with all the collaborations it has forged.
Lao said this “will eventually reach that same amount. We’re talking about billions of US dollars.”
“We cannot generate much from domestic [demand]. To develop a market overseas, we need to capture the trend. There is a consumer trend that prefers natural and sustainable products, and coconut answers both,” he added.
Latest data from the PCA showed the country produced 14.72 million metric tons (MT) of coconut in 2021, up by 1.56 percent from 14.49 million MT a year ago.
Local coconut output was on the uptrend from 2016 to 2019 before it dipped in 2020. Over the previous years, the Philippines has been one of the leading performing coconut producers and, at one point, placed first in 2017.
Among its regional peers, Indonesia saw its coconut shipments increase by 16.77 percent to end at 17.16 million MT.
India is a close third with 14.3 million MT, down by 27.86 percent. Sri Lanka and Brazil settled at fourth and fifth places with 2.5 million MT and 2.46 million MT.
Separately, Kreisha Ainna Marielle Roque, acting department manager of PCA Program Management Office, said P349.58 million or 7.28 percent of the P4.8 billion allotted to the agency under the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund had been released as of June.
Some 74,059 farmers availed of the crop insurance policy through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. as of July, representing 73 percent of the PCA’s target of 101,563 farmers for this year. INQ