NORTHERN Mindanao recorded a slight increase in coconut production in the third quarter of 2009 compared with the same period last year.

Data from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) showed that this year, Region 10 produced 450.6 million compared with last year’s production of 437 million, which translated to a 13.5-million incremental growth in the number of harvested coconut in the third quarter of this year.

Among the provinces in the region, only Camiguin posted the highest production increase with 27 percent, or 26 million, compared with last year’s 20.5 million.

In contrast, Misamis Oriental recorded a negative production of two percent with only 132.32 million this year compared with last year’s figure of 134.52 million.

The NEDA said this is due to the cutting down of about 1,662 coconut trees that were affected by land use conversion — from coconut area to other uses such as commercial/industrial or to other crops — despite the moratorium on the cutting of coconut trees, which was still in effect during the period through Memorandum Circular No. 02-2008 dated February 12, 2008.

The circular suspends all issuances of permits to cut coconut trees and its corresponding transport/transshipment although land use conversion is exempted from the circular.

With the slight increase in coconut production, copra production also increased by five percent, or 109,710 metric tons (MT) over last year’s level of 104,494 MT with the pro-vince of Camiguin still regis-tering the highest gain by 27 percent consistent with its production increase.

Increasing trend was also noted in green nut production as it climbed to 440,949 nuts during the third quarter of 2009 from 434,622 nuts during the same period last year.
Lanao del Norte recor-ded the highest increase of 316.8 percent or 17,713 compared with last year’s 4,250 but Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental demons-trated negative growths at 21 and three percent, res-pectively.

Though the region recorded a slight increase in coconut production, export performance of coconut products and by-products dropped by 11 percent, regis-tering 71,660 MT of total exports in the third quarter from last year’s 80,636 MT.

In terms of value, export sales also went down by 24 percent compared last year, grossing only US$58.94 million in the third quarter from last year’s US$77.9 million. Only three coconut export commodities posted positive growths — activated carbon with 116 percent, coconut milk powder with 25 percent and coco husk chips with 15 percent.

article by Terry D.C. Betonio of Sun Star CDO

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