Wednesday, August 29, 2007

[PBN] Philippines reverts to importing copra


RP now imports copra

By Chino S. Leyco Researcher

PHILIPPINES has started to import copra due to the commodity's scarcity
in the domestic market, the Coconut Industry Investment Fund Oil Mills
Group (CIIF-OMG) said.

Danilo M. Coronacion, CII-OMGF president and chief executive, said that
his company and two other cococut oil companies have resorted to
importing 350,000 metric tons to 500,000 metric tons of copra from the
Pacific countries to take advantage of lower pricing difference.

"We get better margin because the prices of imported are much lower or
more competitive than the domestic copra," Coronacion told reporters.

CIIF-OMG is the country's biggest coconut oil maker, taking up around 50
percent of the market.

He said that imported copra costs lower by at least P1 to P2 than the
price of local copra.

Coronacion also said that from five plants, CIIF will temporarily
shutdown three plants due to shortage of copra in the local market,
making its monthly production to only 48,000 metric tons from 75,000
metric tons.

"Because there is no copra in Bicol area, no copra in Quezon area, we
would rather reconfigure our oil milling operations to concentrate in
the two most efficient plants," Coronacion said.

Coronacion earlier said that the industry sees only 750,000 metric tons
of oil export this year, down by almost 31 percent compared with 1.01
million metric tons last year.

"I think we can meet that because we hit 350,000 metric tons in the
first semester. Considering the slight improvement in coconut, we can
meet the 400,000 metric tons for the second half," he said.

He also said that on average, the country ships 800,000 metric tons of
oil every year.

Oscar G. Garin, Philippine Coconut Authority adminis­trator, said the
industry is still suffering from the devastation brought by typhoons
last year. Next year's volume of output is expected to reach only 2.3
million metric tons.

"Last year, our total volume stood at 2.5 million metric tons," Garin said.

If no intercropping measures would be implemented, then the sector "will
lose another 100,000 metric tons in 2008," he added.
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