April 15, 2019
THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has renewed its call to lift the export ban on mature coconuts that was put in place during the Marcos administration.
The move will help resolve very low prices of copra, a major issue that has been hounding the coconut sector, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel
“We proposed another option to address the low copra prices. I submitted a recommendation to the President through the executive secretary for the amendment of the EO (Executive Order) of [former President Ferdinand] Marcos on the issuance… [to ban the export of matured coconuts],” Piñol said in a recent interview.
Copra prices have been declining since the latter part of January 2018. Prices have fallen to as low as P16 per kilo from about P40 per kilo three years ago. Lowest prices were recorded in areas farthest from oil mills.
Marcos issued EO 1016 in 1985. It created an Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) tasked to update the “List of Prohibited and Regulated Products for Exports.” Based in the list, matured coconuts and coconut seedlings are prohibited for export.
In November last year, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Board of Governors approved a resolution asking the IAC of to consider lifting the ban.
“[L]ifting the ban on the export of coconuts will open new markets for the farmers as several countries, including China, have expressed interest in importing mature coconuts from the Philippines,” the resolution stated. The ban, however, remains.
Once lifted, the DA projected an initial shipment of about 1,500 metric tons (MT) of matured coconuts to importing countries, especially China.
The PCA, in November 2018, also approved a resolution addressed to President Duterte asking the National Biofuels Board to increase the biodiesel component from 2 percent to 5 percent of Coco Methyl Ester. The move is seen to increase the use of copra to up to 200,000 metric tons.
The agency also approved an allocation of P300 million for the purchase of an irradiation equipment to be used in the processing of coco coir for export and for other agricultural products.
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