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Biodiesel demand may buoy coconut industry

THE Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) said it expects demand for coconut products to be stimulated by its use in biodiesel blends and as a possible component in aviation fuel.

“With our projections and when we also talked with market stakeholders, they’re positive there will be an increase,” PCA Administrator Dexter R. Buted told reporters on Tuesday.

“We committed to the Department of Energy (to raise the biofuel blend) from B1 to B3 this October. The contribution of the PCA is 1 billion coconuts for the increased use of Coconut Methyl Ester,” he added.

Biofuel blends are numbered by the share of the non-diesel material in the fuel, with the B3 blend indicating 3% coconut content.

The DoE has ordered oil companies to increase their coco biodiesel blend by October. The government plans to increase the biodiesel blend to B5 in the next three years.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that El Niño could dampen coconut oil exports due to declining production.

Exports are projected to drop to 900,000 metric tons during the 2024 to 2025 market year, from 1.14 million MT the prior year.

However, Mr. Buted said that coconut production may increase 3% to 5% this year.

Last year coconut production fell to 14.89 million MT from 14.93 million MT in 2022, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

He added that the PCA’s replanting project could revive production as old trees give way to new ones.

He said that the country’s coconut trees are now 60 to 70 years old on average, “so we need to replace these trees.”

The Palace has tasked the agency with planting 100 million coconut trees, with a target to plant about 8 million this year.

Mr. Buted said that the PCA is also seeking P2.4 billion to increase the productivity of coconut trees. — Adrian H. Halili