Reducing Setbacks and Accelerating Progress on Coconut Sustainable Development
Before moving forward too far with our journey in 2021, it is worth looking backward to the year 2020 that we have elapsed. It’s been one year since the pandemic has affected our lives. Many sectors have suffered globally. Retail, automotive, tourism, travel, and logistic industries are the most adversely affected sectors. This pandemic is also disrupting the global shipping supply chain. The shortage of shipping containers is causing increased freight rates.
Generally, the global market demand for coconut-based products is increasing. The outlook for coconut-based products including coconut oil is still prospective. A considerable increase in the Rotterdam price of coconut oil was in 2020 (US$1,015/MT) compared to 2019 (US$731/MT), a significant increase of 39%. However, shipment is delayed. Besides, most manufacturing industries have experienced a shortage of raw materials. Even though the Philippines, India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka have forecasted that annual production will increase in the second half of 2021, it is still not sufficient to fulfill the demand. The supply of raw materials for manufacturing industries was shrunk due to border restriction, curfew, low production due to senile palms, pests and diseases, and natural calamity.
We need to build forward better to enhance the resilience of the coconut sector. Unless we take immediate and strategic action to improve coconut productivity, we might risk coconut industries that have contributed to the country’s economy before and during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
It is hoping that the supply chain and shipping will be back to normal soon, and the increased coconut production, farm productivity, and farmer income become a high priority program in the National Development Plan and will be realized with close cooperation between the government, private sectors, alliances, and farmers. Coconut farmers and industries may perceive this pandemic as an opportunity to increase production through better good agricultural practices, integrated pests and disease management, operation management, and supply chain management, while at the same time it is the government’s role to develop and improve the infrastructures and regulations.
Increased coconut production, farm productivity, and farmer income should become a high priority program in the National Development Plan, and it is hoped to be realized with close cooperation between the government, private sectors, alliances, and farmers. Investments in social services, digital access, and green development are also important during the pandemic and beyond to support sustainable development goals (SDGs).
DR. JELFINA C. ALOUW