Press Release
August 2, 2006


Noting the effects of disadvantageously low prices of copra and other coconut products, Senator Edgardo J. Angara today called for financial support for coconut farmers, including projects on income supplement, transportation allowance and marketing assistance to coconut farmers.

Angara also called for direct buying of copra from the National Food Authority at a threshold price determined by the Philippine Coconut Authority.

Angara, a former Department of Agriculture secretary, noted that copra prices have declined due to the proliferation of more competitively-priced tropical oils in the world market, based from reports of Philippine Peasant Institute (PPI), a farmer-based research and advocacy institution.

Angara said that copra is now selling between 2.50 to 3.00 pesos per kilogram while production cost is at 5 pesos per kilogram. With breakeven at 6.04 per kilogram as farmgate price, farmers are no longer harvesting coconuts. He said that more farmers are now cutting their trees and selling them as lumber instead of harvesting the coconut.

If this low copra selling price continues, the coconut industry will collapse. It is only through timely and critical intervention can we save the coconut industry and the farmers who depend on this industry for their living, he stressed.

Angara also noted that more than 20 million Filipinos in 65 provinces around the country depend on the planting and harvesting of coconuts for their living.

Agriculture and food is the foundation of our economy. I envision that one day the government will be strongly supportive, not just by lip service but by action, of our farmers because they really are the bulk who produce the so-called domestic product in this country, Angara said.

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