A FARMER in Davao del Sur peels coconuts in preparation for making copra, the dried meat of the fruit from which oil is extracted. — LEAN S. DAVAL, JR.

DAVAO CITY — Legaspi Oil Co., Inc., a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC), has taken back the management and operation of a coconut oil mill here and is aiming to return production volume up to 600 metric tons per day (MTD).
Resident Manager Jaime L. Jose, in an interview, said the plant that was rented out to private firm First Coconut Manufacturing Inc. in 2014 has been producing only 400 MTD.
“It used to be 600 MTD, but right now, because some of the facilities are not functioning… we can only deliver as of the moment 400 MTD. But we will bring it back to 600 MTD… in two to three months,” Mr. Jose said.
He said maximizing the mill’s capacity would benefit coconut farmers in the Davao Region because they can sell their copra directly to Legaspi Oil, cutting out middlemen.
The GOCC will set up more copra buying stations near coconut plantations to make it easier for the farmers. At present, there are only two, located in Maco, Compostela Valley and Mati City, Davao Oriental.
Mr. Jose said the company will also assist farmers in organizing themselves and setting up cooperatives.
“Legaspi Oil aims to help the farmers to get the right price for their produce,” he said.
The current buying price of copra is P28.20 per kilo.
Majority of the plant’s production, which is processed into edible oil, is exported to Europe, the US and Japan.
“Majority of our revenue is export,” he said.
Other GOCCs with oil mills in Mindanao, all under the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF), are Cagayan de Oro Oil Co., Inc., which is not operational, and Granexport Manufacturing Corp. in Iligan City, which is the biggest copra processing plant in the world. — Maya M. Padillo