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Coco millers to buy copra from farmers at P24/kilo

Local coconut oil millers are set to buy directly from copra farmers amid the continued drop in mill gate prices of the commodity.

In a recent dialogue with Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, coconut oil millers agreed to buy copra from farmers at a mill gate price of P24 per kilogram.

“The millers have committed to prevent the buying price from going down to help coconut farmers nationwide,” he said.

Latest data showed that mill gate prices of copra now range from P18 to P21 per kilo, still much lower than last year’s P44 to P50 per kilo.

Prices dropped to as low as P12 per kilo in some areas a few months before the Philippine Coconut Authority was reverted to the DA.

Piñol said the Agricultural Credit Policy Council would extend an easy access credit to organized coconut farmers for their working capital.

DA regional officers will also be tasked with assisting farmers in hauling their copra to several oil mills.

“The direct-selling scheme for copra farmers was among the major agreements reached to address complaints by coconut farmers of very low copra prices,” Piñol said.

“The direct-selling scheme is expected to provide relief to coconut farmers until the expected increase of copra prices by mid-2019,” he added.

Around four million farmers nationwide were affected by the decline in copra prices due to competition in the global market.

Data showed that there are 3.6 million hectares of land planted to 338.7 million fruit-bearing coconut trees nationwide.

This accounts for 26 percent of the total agricultural land in the country. Of the 81 provinces, 68 are considered coconut producing areas.

In terms of yield, the Philippines produces 4,000 nuts per hectare annually, significantly lower than the other countries that produce about 10,000 nuts per hectare yearly.