Quezon lawmaker asks DTI to stop palm oil importation
MANILA, Philippines – House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez is urging the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other concerned agencies to stop the importation of palm oil in support of the development of the country’s coconut industry.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) earlier called for the reduction of the importation of palm oil due to the steady decline of copra prices.
In filing House Resolution No. 2519 on Tuesday, the Quezon 3rd District congressman noted how the volume of palm oil imports has significantly increased in the past years by almost 100 percent.
Most of the palm oil imported reportedly came from Malaysia and Indonesia which enjoy tariff-free rates based on the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement, he added.
Suarez said the surge in palm oil importation caused the shift of the demand from coconut oil to palm oil due to lower costs.
“This, in turn, injures the coconut industry with the continuous falling of copra farm gate prices to compete with the price of palm oil and the concurrent oversupply of copra,” he added.
“This economic situation affects the livelihood of the country’s coconut farmers which are mostly living in poverty.”
According to the House leader, the average copra farm gate price is now at P15 per kilo, down from P30 to P40 in previous years.
The DTI should also consider increasing copra prices to P25 for an “equitable playing field for domestic coconut producers,” Suarez stressed. / gsg
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