Coconut exports jumped 33 percent last year to $2.27 billion from $1.7 billion in 2016, data from the United Coconut Association of the Philippines Inc. show.
“It is the biggest agricultural export, yet there is way more we can do especially in higher value product exports. Local demand for coconut oil can also be bolstered to help augment revenues lost for farmers due to external market forces,” said Ucap chairman Dean Lao Jr.
Coconut exports amounted to 1,692,759 metric tons of copra in 2017, up 26.7 percent from 1,335,752 MT in 2016.
The country’s coconut exports include copra, coconut oil, copra meal, desiccated coconut, oleochemicals, coco shell charcoal, activated carbon, virgin coconut oil, coco water, fresh coconuts and other products.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority in 2016 showed that there were 3.6 million hectares of land planted with about 338.7 million fruit-bearing coconut trees nationwide. That accounted for about 26 percent of total agricultural areas in the country. Of the 81 provinces, 68 are considered as coconut producing areas.
The Philippines produces 4,000 nuts per hectare annually. This compares to the world leader, India, which produces about 10,000 nuts per hectare yearly.
“Coconut oil can be used to produce countless products―from cooking oil to food ingredients, medicines, and natural consumer goods like soaps and detergents,” said Lao.