Haiyan to hit coconut oil exports

December 21, 2013 - 7:20:09 am

A 15-year-old survivor of Typhoon Haiyan decorates a Christmas tree along a main street in Magallanes town in Tacloban City, central Philippines, yesterday.

MANILA: Global coconut oil supplies will likely fall next year, an industry official said yesterday, after the killer typhoon that struck leading exporter the Philippines last month destroyed millions of trees used to produce the commodity.

The Philippines provides more than 40 percent of the world’s coconut oil and the areas hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan account for 10-15 percent of the country’s output, said Yvonne Agustin, executive director of the industry group United Coconut Association of the Philippines (UCAP).

“The effect of (Haiyan) will be seen next year, especially in terms of exports of coconut oil,” she said but did not say by how much supplies would be affected.

Haiyan left almost 8,000 people dead or missing, displaced millions and destroyed crops and businesses when it swept through the central islands of the Philippines on November 8.

Agustin said supplies of coconut oil -- a key ingredient in cosmetics, soap and fuel, as well as health drinks -- will depend on the extent of the damage to the Philippine trees. She added that prices, which were already rising are expected to increase further as a result.

But she said that while there was widespread damage trees that were not uprooted or whose crown of leaves were not cut off can still recover and resume fruiting within three or four years.

The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) declined to comment on the prospects for the country’s coconut exports but spokesmen noted that the damaged trees accounted for less than one percent of the country’s estimated total of about 340 million trees.


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