23 Apr 2009

Marshall Islands copra mill seeks subsidy as price falls

12:36 pm on 23 April 2009

The copra processing mill in the Marshall Islands is seeking government approval of an urgent subsidy and a cut in the purchasing price from local producers.

The CEO of Pacific International Incorporated, Jerry Kramer, says since last year the world market price for copra and oil has plummeted.

Mr Kramer's, whose company manages the Tobolar Coconut Processing Authority for the government, says prices are at one third of the 2008 prices.

Copra -- dried coconut meat, which is processed into coconut oil -- is the main export commodity for Marshall Islanders, netting the country about two million US dollars a year.

World market prices skyrocketed in March 2008, hitting 1,400 US dollars a ton.

But that rise was followed by a drop to about 500 dollars a ton earlier this year.