04/09/2005 (SunStar) - THE country's importation of palm oil willcontinue to grow even as new areas are needed to be opened soon.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) reported that the demand is growing ataround 2.18 percent each year and by 2010 the importation will grow to220,000 metric tons.
The potential number of hectares by areas in Mindanao are as follows:Region IX, 38,960 or 12.8 percent; Region X, 77,730 has. (25.5 percent),Region XI, 8,290 has. (2.7 percent), Region XII, 23,810 (7.8 percent),Region XIII, 143,010 (46.9 percent), and ARMM, 12,550 (4.3 percent).
According to the DA, the demand for palm oil in the local market is highbecause palm oil is cheaper than coconut oil and can be reused severaltimes especially in the institutional markets.
As the consumption increases there is a shortfall of about 40,000 metrictons or 42.5 percent.
In 2004 alone, the import for palm oil already reached 98.026 metric tonsvalued at $49.72 M which is up by more than five times of only 15.381metric tons in 2003 valued at $16.36 M.
There is a need to plant 12,000 to 18,000 hectares per year just to beself sufficient in palm oil. There are also enough areas for expansion andmostly are in Mindanao estimated at about 304,350 hectares.
The DA report also indicated that Malaysia is the world's largest producerand exporter of palm oil. Indonesia it said has also embarked on a massiveoil palm plantation program and is expected to catch up soon withMalaysia.
In the Philippines, oil palm plantation is concentrated in Mindanao withRegion XIII as the largest in area with 53 percent followed by Region XIIwith 27 percent. (PIA)