Global coconut oil supplies will likely fall next year, an industry official said on Friday, after the killer typhoon that struck the Philippines destroyed millions of trees used to produce the commodity.
The Philippines provides more than 40 percent of the world’s coconut oil and the areas hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda account for 10 to 15 percent of the country’s output, said Yvonne Agustin, executive director of the industry group United Coconut Association of the Philippines (UCAP).
“The effect of [Yolanda] will be seen next year, especially in terms of exports of coconut oil,” she said but did not say by how much supplies would be affected.
Agustin said supplies of coconut oil—a key ingredient in cosmetics, soap and fuel, as well as health drinks—will depend on the extent of the damage to the Philippine trees. She added that prices, which were already rising are expected to increase further as a result.
But she said that while there was widespread damage, trees that were not uprooted or whose crown of leaves were not cut off can still recover and resume fruiting within three or four years.
The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) declined to comment on the prospects for the country’s coconut exports but spokesmen noted that the damaged trees accounted for less than one percent of the country’s estimated total of about 340 million trees.
The government is leading a nationwide replanting program to replace ageing trees, targeting 17.5 million seedlings this year and 19.5 million seedlings next year, they added.
Coconuts bear fruit between three and five years after planting, industry officials said.
Agustin said the typhoon will have little impact on this year’s exports and on Friday the UCAP upgraded its 2013 export forecast to 1.1 million tons earlier this year, from 900,000 tons.