A group underscored the importance of palm oil on food price stability in the face of rising inflation in the Philippines.
The Philippines, with a population of 115 million, has an annual demand for 2 million metric tons of vegetable oil, but local coconut oil output is only about 1.6 million MT, with more than half or 950,000 MT diverted to the export market, data from the industry group showed.
Given palm oil’s affordability and health benefits, it is a widely used vegetable oil in the households and most fast-food restaurants. Extracted from the fruit of the palm tree, the oil is used in a wide range of food products, personal care items and biofuels because of its unique properties, the group said.
The group said that while the country imports 1.15 million MT of palm oil, there is still a supply deficit of about 186,000 MT of vegetable oil
The Philippines is a net importer of palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, as the 90,000 hectares of oil palm plantations in Mindanao are not enough to cover local demand.
Palm oil contains a high percentage of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, which are important for energy production and the absorption of essential nutrients.
Global demand for palm oil is expected to continue to increase in the coming years, creating further economic opportunities for producers, the group said.
The group said that by propagating palm trees in the Philippines and by focusing on sustainable production methods and responsible sourcing, it is possible to reap the benefits of palm oil, which could boost the local economy and provide employment to thousands of Filipinos.