The Philippines should seize a P21 billion coconut fiber market in China and the Asia Pacific that will have a multi-billion ripple effect on the economy or miss this opportunity within the next two to three years if the technology is captured by a more aggressive competitor.
Dr. Justino R. Arboleda, chief executive officer of pioneering Filipino coconut fiber firm Coco Technologies Corp., said a global trend toward the use of natural fiber as a shift from the less environment-friendly synthetic fibers brings tremendous potential for the Philippines to advance its coconut comparative advantage.
The coconut fiber market requires a total of 56,000 metric tons (MT) monthly in four neighboring countries of which 30,000 MT is eaten up by China alone. Other coconut fiber- buying neighboring countries are Korea, needing 8,500 MT: Taiwan, 16,000MT; and Japan, 2000MT.
And yet, the Philippines only produced 19,000 MT of coconut fiber for the entire 2004 “ which is eaten up by China in less one month. “