Coconut oil exports up over 70% amid recovery from El Niño; prices rise

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COCONUT OIL (CNO) exports in the first five months of the year rose over 70% year-on-year as production of copra, the raw material from which it is derived, recovered from the prolonged El Niño-induced dry spell last year, an industry association said.

coconut farmer
A farmer preparing coconuts to be made into copra in Hernani, Eastern Samar — AFP

Citing preliminary data, United Coconut Associations of the Philippines, Inc. (UCAP) Executive Director Yvonne T. Agustin said shipments in the January to May period hit 378,850 tons, up 70.20% from the same period in 2016.

Also, prices improved, averaging $1,544 per ton for the period, compared with $1,230 a year earlier.

“We are coming off a low base. So this year, the recovery is pronounced,” Ms. Agustin said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

The CNO subsector encountered difficulties sourcing copra early last year during the dry spell.

UCAP’s initial target for CNO export volume is 765,000 tons for 2017.

CNO exports totaled 726,827 tons in 2016, down 13.85% from a year earlier, she said.

CNO is used in the production of a range food and cosmetics products.

The Philippines is the top CNO exporter with Europe and the US its biggest markets. — Janina C. Lim