Coco farmers bewail low copra price

NAGA CITY --- Coconut farmers in Camarines Sur province continue to suffer as the price of copra remains low even as the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) noted a spike in the buying price of the product by as much as P6.00 per kilo by the Co Say Oil Mill in Pili town.

Roberto Author, president of the Bicol Coconut Planters Association (BCPA) Inc., said that most of the coconut farmers have to settle for a profit of P1.50/kilo of copra as they are forced to sell their crops to buyers from their localities, where copra prices only range from P15.00 to P17.00, to avoid additional hauling and transportation expenses.

John Villareal, chief of the PCA Camarines Sur I Office, in an interview with Bicol Mail, said that the problem of low price of copra is primarily because of the supply and demand issue in the world market.

Villareal said the presence of different types of cooking oil in the world market such as palm oil, vegetable oil, canola oil and many others affect the demands and sale of coconut oil.

Based on world market demand for these vegetable oils, palm oil corners the top spot at 35 percent followed by soybean oil at 29 percent, while coconut oil is only 2 percent. The Philippines used to be the top exporter of cooking oil worldwide, however, in recent years, the country has already been left behind by Indonesia and Malaysia , which are the top exporters of palm oil.

The PCA official said the price of copra started to slightly increasedduring the last week of November until the first two weeks of December compared to its previous price which was pegged at P18 if directly sold to oil mills.

He advised coconut farmers to maintain the good quality of their copra to ensure a good price per kilo. They should keep their copra dry and clean to avoid the presence of aflatoxin, a cancer-causing toxin.

“We regularly monitor copra stocks in the oil mills for asiatoxin,” he said.