NorMin copra production up despite weather disturbances

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Friday, April 11, 2014


EVEN with the series of weather disturbances that hit Northern Mindanao region and affected agriculture yield, copra production increased last year, a National Economic Development Authority (Neda-10) official announced Thursday.

Cecilio Clarete, Neda-10 chief economic development specialist, said copra production went up 3.02 percent and 1.09 percent in the later part and in the whole year in 2013, respectively, elevating the corresponding production levels to 115,221 metric tons (MT) and 438, 719 MT, in the region.

Among the top copra-producing provinces in the region last year were Lanao del Norte, 141,821 MT; Misamis Occidental, 145,790 MT; and Misamis Oriental, 112,482 MT. Bukidnon produced 11,095 MT.

“Except for Camiguin, the rest of the [northern Mindanao] provinces increased their production in both the fourth quarter and the whole year periods,” Clarete said, during the presentation of the Regional Economic Situationer at the Neda-10 conference room.

There may be more copra produced last year but Clarete said the average annual farm gate price was down to P18.34 per kilo and mill gate price fell to P21.90 per kilo declining at a rate of 17 percent and 12 percent, respectively, from their 2012 levels.

In the last quarter of 2013, however, copra producers found themselves in a favorable situation since average farm and mill gate prices of copra went up by 65.1 and 61.8 percent, bringing price levels to P23.91 per kilo and P27.70 per kilo, respectively.

Clarete said the implementation of Republic Act 8048 or the Coconut Preservation Act of 1995 made it possible for farmers to legally cut a total of 19,216 economically unproductive coconut trees last year.

As compared to 2012, where the number of trees cut was 24,615, the figure was lower by -21.93 percent.

A much newer law, Republic Act 10593 (RA10593), which amended RA 8048, was signed by Pres. Benigno Aquino on May 29, 2013 to further ensure that the country’s coconut trees are preserved.

Under the new law, a coconut tree cannot be cut unless it is 60 years old in the case of tall varieties and at least 40 years old for dwarf varieties.

For it to be cut, the coconut tree, the new law said, must no longer be economically productive; severely disease-infested and beyond rehabilitation; severely damaged by typhoon or lightning.

It is lawful to cut a coconut tree if the land devoted to its production is converted to residential or industrial area; the land converted into other agricultural uses; and it can cause hazard to life and property.

The law added no coconut tree may be cut unless a permit from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) is obtained.

RA10593 also granted police powers to the PCA to investigate suspected violations of the law, arrest violators as well as search and seize a vehicle with illegally cut coconut trees.

The PCA can also stop the transport of coconut lumber without authority or legal documents as well as confiscate the illegally cut trees in favor of the government.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 11, 2014.

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