Coconut still top priority over palm

The Mindanao Development Authority reiterated that coconut is still a top priority for the government despite the growing popularity of palm oil.

“The production of palm oil is only being encouraged and promoted in idle lands and in no way should palm compete with the existing coconut plantations,” Mindanao Development Authority’s Romeo Montenegro said at a press conference held at the Marco Polo Hotel.

He said coconut copra and palm kernel remains the top dollar earner of Mindanao with a 21.26 percent share in the total exports of Mindanao as of 2012. However, he said that coconut exports decreased by 19.48 percent, from $1.1055 billion in 2011 to $.89 billion in 2012.

The MINDA report shows that coconut or copra got the largest share of Mindanao’s exports to the United States amounting to $359 million or 43.2 percent of the total exports to the US. Coconut copra was also Mindanao largest export to the Netherlands amounting to $303.68 or a share of 61 percent of the total exports to the said country.

“Despite the challenges faced by the coconut industry demand continues to increase but there seems to be a reduction of supply,” he said. Montenegro said this is why the government is encouraging the planting and production of more coconut and its byproducts.

He mentioned the increasing demand of Franklin Baker which enjoys robust demand for its coconut water in the export market. Farmers are also encouraged to intercrop coconuts with cocoa and coffee as these are also in demand top commodities.

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