The coconut industry in Palawan has performed well in 2017, making over 35,000 farmers in the province earn P3.6 billion, a coconut authority official said Friday.
Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Provincial Manager Edilberto Nicolas said that the income of the farmers was owed to the production of 130,876 metric tons (558,711,648 fruits harvested) of copra.
“Natutuwa at nagpapasalamat tayo na umabot ang production ng ganyan. Malaking contribution ito sa ating local at sa national economy na rin,” Nicolas said.
This means farmers during the said year earned P102,857.14 each, or P25,714.28 per quarter from the harvests they made.
Nicolas said the price of copra that prevailed during then ranged from P28 to P30 per kilo.
He said they could have earned more if their copra is of good quality, or “resecada,” which is priced at P30-P35 per kilo.
“Karamihan kasi sa farmers natin ay sun-dried ang copra, konti lang ang may mga coconut dryers,” the PCA manager in Palawan said.
Palawan’s coconut production, he said further, contributed 5% to the country’s total production of 2.3 million metric tons.
Nicolas added that if not for weather disturbances in 2017, Palawan could have earned more income for farmers by yielding 73 nuts per tree instead of only 70.
He also observed that landowners in the province has larger-sized coconut farms compared to other regions in the country.
“Ang average farm size is 3 hectares, maluwang na yun compared sa ibang provinces na ang average farm size ay half-hectare lang,” Nicolas said.
Not all harvested coconuts are processed into copra. He said there are buyers like Cardinal Agri that buys whole nuts at P14 to P15 per piece.
“Wala kasing production cost na malaki kapag whole unhusked nuts ang binenta,” he stated.
Other nuts were also sold as buko (coconut water in shell) or matured nut at public markets.
It was learned that coconuts in the island towns of Cuyo, Cagayancillo, Coron, and other coco-producing islands, are shipped directly to Manila or other nearby provinces like Iloilo and Mindoro.