Coconut output seen hitting 2.24 MMT

In Photo: Photo shows coconut trees towering over a house in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur. The Zamboanga Peninsula, which includes Zamboanga del Sur, is one of the top coconut-producing regions in the country today, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Favorable weather would allow the country’s coconut production to increase to 2.244 million metric tons (MMT) in copra terms this year, according to the United Coconut Association of the Philippines Inc. (Ucap).

Ucap’s forecast is 9.46 percent higher than the 2.05 MMT produced by the Philippines last year, when the production of most crops declined due to El Niño.

“We have a positive outlook [for the coconut industry] this year,” Ucap Executive Director Yvonne T.V. Agustin told the BusinessMirror.

Agustin said the projected hike in coconut production would also result in more shipments of coconut oil this year. She estimated that coconut-oil exports this year could reach 765,000 MT, 5.37 percent higher than the 726,000 MT shipped in 2016.

She also said copra meal exports this year could rise by 18.61 percent to 325,000 MT, from the 2016 record of 274,000 MT.

As for desiccated coconut, Agustin said Ucap said it expects shipments to hit 90,000 MT this year.

“Shipments of desiccated coconut reached 91,220 MT last year. We’re not yet sure if we’re going to maintain this projection but most likely, the 2017 output will not be far from that figure,” she said.

“[Ucap] will revisit and review the projection for desiccated coconut based depending on the performance [of the sector] in the first quarter,” Agustin added.

As El Niño could again affect the Philippines this year, Agustin said its impact on the coconut industry would be evident next year. “Now that there’s a threat of El Niño again, mitigation measures should already be implemented [by the government].”

Agustin said the Philippines earned $1.7 billion from coconut exports last year. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that export receipts from major coconut products last year slightly increased to $1.41 billion from $1.4 billion registered in 2015.

The bulk of export receipts came from coconut oil, which accounted for 80.52 percent. Revenues from coconut oil last year reached $1.13 billion, slightly higher than the 2015 record of $1.12 billion.

PSA data also showed that revenues from desiccated coconut grew 21.6 percent to $194.68 million in 2016, from the $160.05 million registered in 2015.

However, export receipts from copra and copra meal declined by 87.7 percent and 27.3 percent, respectively. Data from the PSA revealed that earnings from copra meal reached $51.2 million, lower than the $70.42 million recorded in 2015, while revenues from copra shipments amounted to only $70,000 last year.

Image Credits: Nonie Reyes