Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Coco oil prices decline give woes to Filipino farmers

A Filipino coconut planter work at his farm in Kidapawan City in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo / Geo Solmerano)

KIDAPAWAN CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / October 7, 2009) – The Philippines Department of Agriculture said coconut oil prices continue to fall and lingering uncertainties in global financial markets, steep decline in crude mineral oil prices, and lower Asian vegetable oils markets added to the woes of Filipino farmers.

In Luzon Island, copra prices went down from P 28.25 per kilo in 2007 to P 24.75 in 2008. This rapid and steep decline in prices is worse in the Visayas and Mindanao regions, averaging more than P 7 of decline within a year.

The Philippine Coconut Industry said given this bare situation, farmers are no longer harvesting coconuts. More farmers cut trees and sell them as lumber, instead of harvesting the coconut.

The coconut industry is the country's oldest and most strategic industry, contributing 1.14% of the total Gross Domestic Product amounting to US$ 760 million. The Philippines is a world leader in
coconut exports, dominating 59% of the global market.

Government statistics indicated that areas planted with coconut covers 3.258 million hectares equivalent to 27% of total agricultural land. At least 68 out of 79 provinces are considered
coconut areas, representing 1,195 municipalities. (With a report from Geo Solmerano)

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