THE House of Representatives will consider a resolution asking the government to bar imports of palm oil to help protect the domestic coconut industry.
“I’m alarmed by the price of copra now. It’s too low. I’m asking the Department of Trade and Industry to stop the importation of palm oil,” Minority Leader Danilo E. Suarez of the 3rd district of Quezon said in a briefing Tuesday.
Mr. Suarez filed House Resolution No. 2519, which urged the DTI and other agencies to halt palm oil imports to support the coconut industry.
“Under our ASEAN tariff agreement, palm oil is charged zero tariffs. Unfortunately palm oil is cheaper than coconut oil,” he said.
The resolution follows a finding by the Department of Agriculture that palm oil imports are hurting the price of copra.
Copra currently trades for about P15 per kilo on average, well below the P30-40 average price from previous years.
“The surge of palm oil imports causes a shift in demand from coconut oil to palm oil due to the cheaper price of the latter. This, in turn, injures the coconut industry (due to) the continuous decline of copra farmgate prices,” according to the resolution.
“This economic situation affects the livelihood of the country’s coconut farmers which are mostly living in poverty.”
The Minority Leader said the DTI should consider increasing copra prices to P25. — Charmaine A. Tadalan