Department of Agriculture wants palm oil imports reduced
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the agency would resubmit to the Office of the Executive Secretary its recommendations to help the industry recover from lower prices of copra. Among the measures the DA is looking at is reducing imports of palm oil, which surged by 900 percent in the last three years.
AFP
Department of Agriculture wants palm oil imports reduced
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - February 26, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture wants to cut palm oil imports to address the declining copra prices in the country.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the agency would resubmit to the Office of the Executive Secretary its recommendations to help the industry recover from lower prices of copra.  Among the measures the DA is looking at is reducing imports of palm oil, which surged by 900 percent in the last three years.

 “The imposition of a QR (quantitative restriction) on palm oil or tariffs could actually be employed by the Philippines in cutting down on the volume of the imports to protect the local industry,” Piñol said.

“This is allowed by the World Trade Organization as a trade remedy but it could have a trade backlash with both Malaysia and Indonesia, thus the need to refer this to the country’s economic managers before it can be enforced by the DA,” he added.

Latest data showed that mill gate prices of copra fell to P12 to P17 per kilo, still much lower than last year’s P26 to P30 a kilo.

Approximately four million farmers rely heavily on the sale of copra.

Another recommendation is the increase of coco methyl ester (CME) content in the biodiesel program from two percent to five percent, to effectively use up an estimated 200,000 metric tons of copra.

“The increase in the use of coconut oil in the biodiesel program is frowned upon by the fuel industry because it could increase the cost of biodiesel by about P0.35 per liter,” Piñol said.

“What has not been emphasized, however, is the fact that by using more coconut oil in biodiesel, the mileage of vehicles increases by about three kilometers per liter and improves the air pollution index,” he added.

The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) has been dealing with low copra prices since June last year.

“The DA has offered livelihood loans to coconut farmers cooperatives but these are just temporary measures to cushion the negative impact of the low prices,” Piñol said.

Data showed that there are 3.6 million hectares of land planted with about 338.7 million fruit-bearing coconut trees nationwide.

This accounts for 26 percent of total agricultural land in the country. Of the 81 provinces, 68 are considered as coconut producing areas.

In terms of yield, the Philippines produces 4,000 nuts per hectare annually, significantly much lower compared with other coconut-producing countries that produce about 10,000 nuts per hectare yearly.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE EMMANUEL PIñOL PHILIPPINE COCONUT AUTHORITY
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with