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Indonesia lifts ban on palm oil exports following farmers’ protest

19/05/2022 at 6:56 PM

Jakarta, May 19: Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Wednesday said that the country will lift the three-week-long ban on palm oil exports from coming Monday.

The President made the announcement citing the improvement in the supply of domestic cooking oil as the reason for lifting the restrictions.

“The decision to lift the ban was taken despite the price of bulk cooking oil not reaching the targeted IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) 14,000 per liter price, as the government considers the welfare of 17 million workers in the palm oil industry,” President Widodo said.

Earlier on Tuesday, palm oil farmers in Indonesia staged a significant protest in the country’s capital as the prices of domestic edible oil fell following the export ban.

Indonesian Palm Oil Farmers Association (Apkasindo) chairman Gulat Manurung on Wednesday said if the ban was not reviewed within the near future, the organization would bring 1 million palm kernels to the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta. There, the kernels would be processed into red palm cooking oil and then sold, as a form of protest.

On April 28 last month, the Indonesian President suspended exports of cooking oil, and the raw materials used to make it, “until further notice,” in a bid to secure local supplies.

The Southeast Asian country is the world’s biggest palm oil producer, and the announcement sent prices of the commodity soaring. This also came at a time when food prices across the world were already on the rise due to the war between Russia and Ukraine and the resulting hiccups in the supply of wheat.

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