Stop palm oil imports

Danilo Suarez

TO save the country’s coconut industry, the government should stop the importation of palm oil.

This is according to House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez as he filed House Resolution 2519 urging the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other concerned agencies to stop the importation of palm oil.

Earlier, the Department of Agriculture (DA)  called for the reduction of the importation of palm oil due to the steady decline of copra prices.

According to Suarez, the volume of palm oil imports has significantly increased in the past years by almost 100 percent.

Suarez lamented that most of the imported palm oil  came from Malaysia and Indonesia which enjoy tariff-free rates based on the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement.

The House leader added that the surge in palm oil importation caused the shift of the demand from coconut oil to palm oil due to lower costs.

Because of this, the coconut industry and the farmers as well are hurting badly with the continuous falling of copra farm gate prices to compete with the price of palm oil and the concurrent oversupply of copra.

“This economic situation affects the livelihood of the country’s coconut farmers which are mostly living in poverty,” he said.                       

To date the average copra farm gate price is now at P15 per kilo, down from P30 to P40 in previous years.

Likewise, Suarez said the DTI should also consider increasing copra prices to P25 for an “equitable playing field for domestic coconut producers.”