20 Oct 2008

Marshalls records high copra production

2:32 pm on 20 October 2008

The Marshall Islands has had its third best copra producing year ever, in the fiscal year just ended.

The country's coconut processing facility reports that the 7,182 tons of dried coconut produced is only the third time since records began being kept in 1951 that Marshall Islands copra makers have passed the 7,000-ton mark.

Local officials say the combination of high world market prices coupled with improving outer island government shipping service generated the high production.

The two top-producing atolls are Arno and Ailinglaplap.

But the copra mill operator is concerned that it may be forced to reduce the price paid early next year, which could lead to lower production levels.

A year ago, Tobolar Copra Processing Authority was paying 15 cents a pound for copra, but that was increased to 22 cents earlier this year.

The national government provided a 1.2 million US dollar subsidy in 2008 to the copra mill to help keep prices high, but dropped the amount to half a million for the next fiscal year, which started at the beginning of October.