DA backs raising biodiesel coconut content, protection from palm oil imports

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THE Department of Agriculture (DA) will resubmit its recommendations for the coconut industry which include the increase of coconut content in biodiesel as well as the imposition of quantitative restrictions on palm olein from Malaysia and Indonesia, Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said on Sunday.

“The increase in the use of coconut oil in the biodiesel program is frowned upon by the fuel industry because it could increase the cost of biodiesel by about P0.35 per liter,” Mr. Piñol said in a social media post.

“What has not been emphasized, however, is the fact that by using more coconut oil in biodiesel, the mileage of vehicles increases by about three kilometers per liter and improves the air pollution index,” Mr. Piñol added.

Mr. Piñol said last year that his office will lobby for the increase of biofuel content in diesel from B2 to B5 to absorb oversupply in the copra industry.

“On Tuesday, the DA will resubmit its recommendations on how to address the low copra prices which include: increase in the use of coconut oil in the biodiesel program from B2 to B5 which would effectively use up an estimated 200,000 metric tons (MT) of copra, [and the] imposition of a quantitative restriction on the volume of palm olein imported from Malaysia and Indonesia because of a drastic volume increase of 900% over the last three years,” Mr. Piñol said.

“The imposition of a QR on Palm Olein or tariffs could actually be employed by the Philippines in cutting down on the volume of the imports to protect the local industry,” Mr. Piñol added.

According to Mr. Piñol, Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea asked him last week to resubmit the recommendations. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio