By Rodolfo Andal
LUCENA City –Philippine Coconut Authority former administrator Billy L. Andal urged the the Coconut Industry Investment Fund-Coco Oil Mills Group to take steps necessary in order to revive and put into productive operation one of it’s plant located in Mulanay town in the Bondoc Peninsula, Quezon province.
Andal is referring to the Southern Luzon Coco Oil Mill (SOLCOM) which has been mothballed for over 2 decades now for unknown reasons. The former Administrator believes that the rehab and operation soonest of the plant will help a lot relieve the poor situation of the coco farmers reeling under a very low price of their produce in the market.
Currently, the middle traders buy their copra between 20-12 pesos a kilo while, at the mill, prices ranges from PhP25- 32. Obviously, the traders are making the kill but attributes the low price on the cost of transporting the goods to the operating coco mills in Lucena and Candelaria in Quezon which is some 3-4 hours travel at the minimum.
According to Andal, the plant needs only about PhP30M to get it running, an amount he believes the CIIF can fairly shell out from it’s income or funds available for disposal.
The former Administrator also confided that several group has approached him indicating their interest in getting the plant up and operational.
Meanwhile, PCA has said that the low price of copra is based on the current world market prices and they cannot do anything to alleviate the farmers situation.