05 August 1999
Philippines coconuts suffer trauma

COCONUT production in the Philippines is suffering from “near-traumatic agricultural conditions”, reports the Financial Times.

The industry has been hit by typhoons and droughts, reports the newspaper, and recovery is not expected to take place for more than a year.

Agricultural production comprises around one-fifth of gross domestic product and coconuts remain the largest agricultural export by value.

About a quarter of arable land, or 3m hectares, is dedicated to the crop.

The United Coconut Association of the Philippines estimates production fell to 2.5 million tonnes in 1998 from 2.6m tonnes in 1997.

Coconut oil exports plummeted to 180,000 tonnes in the first half off 1999 from just under 700,000 tonnes in the same period last year.

Apart from the weather productivity remains a concern for the industry, the FT continues.

Analysts say the government must provide more infrastructure, credit assistance and support for farmers.