QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The coconut industry demonstrated a strong footing even in the year of pandemic. According to the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), of the ten key product categories in terms of export value, coconut oil had the biggest yearly gain of 76.9%, from a Free on Board (FOB) value of 79 Million USD in October 2020, to 139.76 Million USD in October 2021, or an increase of 60.76 Million USD.
Likewise, comparing the January to October data of 2020 and 2021, also from the data of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), coconut-based products posted a high growth rate of 48.8% with all major exported coconut-based products posting double-digit growth rate. Copra price also increased from its lowest farm gate price of 14 pesos in November 2019 to 36 pesos in November 2021 and millgate price from 19.46 pesos to 46.23 pesos per kilo of copra.
Commissioner Eric Elnar of the Philippine Trade and Investment Center based in Los Angeles, California also said that the Philippines accounts for 60% of US coconut oil imports and 73% of US crude coconut oil imports.
The increase in demand was caused by changes in US trade policy, market trends, and dietary standards. Market demand for organic products, as well as increased knowledge of the health benefits of coconut-based products, especially with the DOST study on virgin coconut oil (VCO) as adjunct therapy for COVID-19, also contributed to the coconut oil boom.
To keep up with shifting market demand, the office took use of the internet shopping trend that had taken up during the pandemic, while maintaining distribution through conventional physical stores that offer coconut goods. The PCA likewise tapped the reseller sector emerging from the Filipino-Americans operating micro, small, and medium company caravans.
In the celebration of the 35th National Coconut Week last August 2021, PCA ran the Investment Forum and Business-to-Business meetings featuring the new coconut technologies and products commercially available in the market, with an online virtual trade fair showcasing various coconut products of MSMEs, to increase the public awareness on the potentials of coconut products. Engaging in other interventions and aggressive pursuit of promotional activities and projects such as hybridization and fertilization projects may have also directly or indirectly affected the positive growth and promotion of the coconut industry.
Moving forward, Administrator Benjamin Madrigal Jr. emphasized PCA’s plans to implement its relevant programs under the RA 11524 or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act which has already been enacted into law, to sustain the development of the industry and continually support and help improve the lives of the farmers. Once the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan is approved by the President, PCA expects to sustain the gains of the coconut industry by next year and the years to come.