PALO, Leyte -- The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in Eastern Visayas is optimistic the coconut industry in the region will be more vibrant this year, as price of copra has increased amid sustained recovery of the industry after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) devastated the area in 2013.

Copra mill gate price has fetched P50 to P54 per kilogram.

The PCA thus hoped that more farmers will resume coconut cultivation this year.

Copra, the dried kernel or meat of the coconut, is used to extract coconut oil.

PCA regional regulatory officer Benjamin Yu reiterated the need to build more coconut oil processing plants to accommodate the growing copra output in the region.

“We have few processing plants and oil mills. The current capacity of our oil mills here are not enough to absorb local production,” Yu said.

The PCA is still consolidating the 2016 production reports, but Uy is confident of sustained growth in Eastern Visayas, the country’s second largest coconut producing region, next to Mindanao.

In 2015, the region’s copra yield was pegged at 330,252 metric tons produced by 1.2 million farmers.

PCA has been convincing more investors to put up copra processing plants and oil mills.

The region has seven existing coconut oil mills with four in Leyte, two in Northern Samar and one in Samar. The Tacloban Oil Mills Inc. in Tolosa, Leyte is the region’s largest, generating an estimated 108,000 metric tons in 2015.

About one third of the region’s population was affected when Typhoon Yolanda destroyed about 16 million coconut trees. (PNA)