Copra, the dried meat or kernel of the coconut, is the lifeblood of the Philippines’ agricultural exports.
The word copra is derived from Malayalam, India where coconut oil production is also widespread. Coconut oil is traditionally extracted by grating or grinding copra, then boiling it in water. Today the process of coconut oil extraction is done by crushing copra to produce coconut oil (70%); the by-product is known as copra cake or copra meal (30%) (from Wikipedia).
Making copra – removing the shell, breaking up, drying – is usually done right in the coconut plantations. While there are some large plantations with integrated operations in the Philippines, copra production remains primarily in the hands of medium-sized entrepreneurs. The Philippines is also known as the biggest exporter of copra, and is one of the world’s countries where coconut oil remains the staple ingredient for cooking.
Mabuhay ang copra!