Ternate, N Maluku (ANTARA) – The North Maluku provincial administration is endeavoring to breathe new life into copra exports to the Philippines that have declined in recent years following no demand from the country.

Head of North Maluku’s Industry and Trade Office Asrul Gailea noted here on Monday that some business players were planning to export copra to the Philippines in the near future.

The office and other relevant agencies will offer support and facilities to all business players engaged in copra exports in the province.

Gailea believes that if copra exports can be revived, it will help raise the commodity’s price, as it has been declining recently.

The marketing of copra in North Maluku is only limited. The commodity is only sold, especially to North Sulawesi and East Java. As a result, if the demand from these areas drops, farmers face difficulties in selling their copra.

Gailea has appealed to the province’s coconut farmers to improve the quality of copra production, including by producing white copra, as it is priced higher and is more in demand in the export market.

White copra is produced through natural drying process under the sun. In the meantime, farmers in North Maluku only produce black copra made by fuming coconuts using coals.

Gailea noted that the North Maluku provincial administration is boosting the development of the copra processing industry that also produces derivative products from coconuts.

In North Maluku, a coconut processing industry center is currently under construction in West Halmahera District, and it is expected to be built in other districts with support from the central government.

Data from the North Maluku Agriculture office indicated some 260 thousand hectares of coconut plantations in the area, all of which are smallholder coconut plantations, with production crossing 100 thousand tons annually.

EDITED BY INE