Bumper copra crop hits Tobolar

A Tobolar Copra Processing Authority warehouse in Majuro is filled with copra waiting to be milled. The first three months of 2020 generated one of the highest-ever three-month totals of copra tonnage. Photo: Eve Burns.

The outer islands produced a bumper crop of copra the first three months of 2020 — one of the highest three-month total tonnage deliveries ever. It shows a big turnaround from late last year when the dengue fever travel ban was in place, preventing most copra pick up.
Ships brought in 2,447.60 tons of copra to the Tobolar Copra Processing Authority in Majuro from January through March, according to statistics provided by Tobolar.

Copra production and delivery by Shipping Corporation vessels the past three months dramatically contrasts with the slow period late in 2019 because of the outer islands travel ban due to dengue fever. Only 1,000 tons was brought in between October and December last year.

The 2,447.60 tons was one of the highest tonnage quarters ever, just short of the best quarter-ever in 2018 when 2,556.94 tons were delivered to Tobolar from October to December.

If ships can keep moving to outer islands and the government can keep its big subsidy in place to keep paying copra makers 50 cents per pound, 2020 could end up being a bumper year.

While Ailinglaplap has been playing second fiddle to Arno in copra production the past couple of years, this past three months the central atoll jumped out in the lead. Ailinglaplap copra makers generated 589 tons, with Arno in second place with 432 tons. Other atolls rounding out the top five are Namdrik (282.89 tons), Ebon (219.39 tons) and Maloelap (163.28 tons).

Ailinglaplap’s high production was based on it having ship visits each month during the January to March period. A number of islands saw only one — or no — ship visit during this period.

Subscribe to the Marshall Islands Journal by clicking on the subscribe button at the right to read more about this and other news from the Marshall Islands.