The coconut palm provides a substantial export income for many tropical countries, as well as food and drink for home consumption and fuel and shelter. Of the exported products, copra, the dried kernel, is a major source of vegetable oil and coconut oil, and shredded and dried kernel is widely used in the bakery and confectionery trades as desiccated coconut. `Copra cake', left after oil extraction, is a valued animal feed, especially for dairy cattle.
The coconut industry is the highest net foreign exchange earner of agricultural exports in the Philippines, accounting for about 1.5% of GNP. It employs, directly or indirectly, some 20 million people (about one-third of the population).However, the industry's ability to meet demand and expand may be jeopardised by:
. the declining share of coconut oil in the world's oils and fats market;
. a proposed levy on vegetable oil imports.
. more stringent regulations imposed in the international copra market;
. lack of a market development and expansion program; and
. low incomes for coconut farmers.
We must improve Philippine domestic production, consumption and prices of coconut products. We must apply econometric modelling techniques to provide supply, demand and price projections for the major coconut product markets; evaluate the implications of these projections for the economic viability of the Philippines coconut export sector; and analyse a range of domestic policy options. They will give particular emphasis to the opportunities for additional value-added processing in the Philippines coconut