Manila Jul 04 (Sun Star) - THE Department of Agriculture (DA) 11reported that the country's palm oil consumption grows by 2.18 percentannually.
This translates to a shortfall of around 40,000 metric tons this year. DA11 said the shortfall is equivalent to $14.3 million worth of importation.
The agency said that palm oil is widely preferred by the institutionalmarkets since it is reusable.
By 2010, the DA 11 added, the country needs over 140,000 metric tons ofpalm oil to address the domestic requirement.
As this developed, the agency said investments are needed for an expansionmove of between 12,000 to 18,000 hectares of oil palm plantations yearlyin order for the country to be self-sufficient.
In Mindanao, various areas are being eyed as potential expansion zone foroil palm plantations. The major expansion area which the agency is lookinginto is the province of Cotabato.
Oil palm starts bearing fruits in three years time. For a hectare ofplantation, an income of about P45,000 can be earned annually.
"Investments on establishment of nurseries and oil mills are also needed,"the agency said.