Coconut Industry in the Philippines Weather and COVID – Quarter Four 2020

One of the ongoing challenges for Philippine coconut farming is the typhoons that pass through the Philippines each year.

The 2020 Pacific typhoon season has been less active so far with only 18 tropical cyclones and 13 named storms forming since the beginning of May. However, the most destructive typhoons tend to occur later in the year from September to December.

There is another weather phenomenon that looks likely to appear in 2020.

Right now, is predicted to be a 70% chance of a La Niña event in the Pacific in 2020.

La Niña events generally cause the trade winds to intensify, causing warm water to tightly confined around the maritime continent. This concentrates the moisture and fuels the formation of rain clouds that brings more rain in the Philippines and Indonesia.

High rainfall affects the harvesting of coconuts and also can mean farmers focus on other crops, plus transportation can be delayed due to poor local infastructure.

There is a detailed Wikipedia article to read all about La Niña here

Does a La Niña year get more typhoons?

There is considerable research about this, see some of it here

The conclusions are as follows – “The statistical results show that the lifetime, length of movement, and range of movement of typhoons are larger in El Niño years than those in La Niña years. The intensity in El Niño years is relatively strong, but the moving speed is almost the same as that in La Niña years.”

COVID continues to cause delays.

At the moment, the Philippine coconut industry is playing catch-up. There are delays and breaks in production, as companies struggle to get staff in regularly and with enhanced COVID protection measures, 2020 production is now for all intents and purposes spoken for by existing orders.

We also are seeing freight prices increase and ongoing delays in shipping due to a reduction in vessels (another COVID related challenge).

Other markets are continuing to benefit from the shortages in the Philippines, but they are also facing the same COVID issues of supply, production.

And in Indonesia, harvests are being hampered by high rainfalls and flooding slowing harvests (possibly the initial effects of La Niña)

All these issues are pushing prices higher into 2021, with orders now well into Q2 2021 and Q1 filling up quickly.

As ever, we recommend early booking of positions into 2021 to ensure supply.

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