The fluctuation of domestic copra price is cyclical and this is beyond the control of the PCA or any government agency. This is so because the domestic copra price is dependent to the coconut oil price in the global market. The global coconut oil price on the other hand is determined or affected by the supply and demand situation of other vegetable oils (e.g. oil palm, soybean, rapeseed, sunflower, olive oil, etc.) Though the Philippines is the biggest exporter of coconut oil in the world, coconut oil is just one of the many vegetable oils produced in the world. As such, its price is greatly affected by the movement of prices of other vegetable oils particularly the palm oil which is the biggest among the internationally traded vegetable oils (35%), and soybean oil, the second biggest vegetable oil (29%).
The price of palm oil in the world market has been going down since December 2017. At present, the world market price is 623.50 USD/MT. This commands the price of coconut oil and other vegetable oils in the world market. If we convert this price to Philippine peso/kilogram using the current peso-dollar exchange rate of P52.00, this is only P32.42/kg. This explains the very low price of copra as companies using vegetable oils will buy more palm oil if the supply is high and the price is low. But as the supply of palm oil will go down, prices of vegetable oils will again go up.
Though copra price fluctuation is beyond the control of the PCA, we are aware of its impact to the coconut farmers. Hence, the agency has been exerting efforts and encouraging the coconut farmers to work together as an organization and engage in group marketing to be able to negotiate for a better price than the prevailing local buying price if they have the right volume. This can be done both for copra and whole nut marketing.
Likewise, the PCA has been exerting efforts to increase coconut production through fertilization. We also have intercropping and animal dispersal program to provide the farmers some alternative sources of income. The agency is also encouraging and teaching the coconut farmers to move towards value-addition of coconut instead of relying on copra production. Since 2013, PCA has been implementing the KAANIB Enterprise Development Project and Community/Household Level Coconut Processing Project where coconut farm households through the Small Coconut Farmers Organization (SCFO) are trained and provided with processing equipment for value-adding of coconut. We encourage the coconut farmers to coordinate with the PCA Coconut Development Officer in their municipalities for further information of PCA and other government programs and projects in their areas.
In addition, PCA is calling for a meeting with the big coconut processors to work hand-in-hand to find ways to address the impacts of the current copra price situation.