DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Farm gate price of copra in Compostela Valley (ComVal) province continues to plummet according on the latest data from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA)-Davao region.
As of this writing, it is pegged at P16-17 per kilo.
Provincial Coconut Development Manager Socorro Sofia Pueblo explained that the PCA has no hold in the fluctuating price of copra in the country, adding that it heavily depends on the world market.
Local coconut farmers in the country have been demanding an increase in copra prices as well as support from the government to alleviate their situation.
There are about five thousand coconut farmers in ComVal, according to Pueblo.
Due to very low copra prices, some coconut farmers in municipalities such as in Pantukan, Mabini and Maco have decided to convert their farms to other crops, such as banana, she said.
“There are existing banana plantations in these areas where farmers can easily get information on how to convert their farms,” Pueblo said.
In 2012, coconut production in ComVal was also affected due to the devastation brought by Typhoon Pablo. However, Pueblo said that since then, 20,000 hectares of coconut farms have been replanted to offset the damage of the typhoon.
To continue to promote the planting of coconut trees, PCA has been offering a reward for farmers who will join its Participatory Coconut Planting (PCP) program.
In the said program, incentives will be given to farmers who will successfully raise coconut seedlings in their farms.
Meanwhile, lawyer Lucky Siegfred Balleque of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that the government is currently taking initiatives to help coconut farmers in the region by developing other products, instead of relying largely on copra.
Balleque said they are pushing for farmers to help develop products such as virgin coconut oil, coco water, coco sugar, and even coco-based handicrafts.
Some of these products were now being sold in local markets, while DTI is also working to export these products to other countries such as Japan.
“We were in Japan together with the Davao City Chamber of Commerce, and I tried to talk to some Japanese investors and traders there to possibly import some of our VCO,” he said.
The very first Compostela Valley Coconut Summit 2019 organized by the provincial government, and different government agencies will also be held this week.
This aims to introduce new innovations to coconut farmers and processors and further promote the coconut industry among investors. (davaotoday.com)