Indonesia bans palm oil exports

The country, the world’s largest producer of palm oil, is experiencing a shortage of cooking oil.

Indonesia will ban exports of palm oil and other vegetable oils from next week, its president announced on Friday in the face of a shortage of cooking oil in the domestic market. The country is the world’s largest producer of palm oil.

The government will ban exports of raw cooking oil and cooking oil from Thursday 28 April until a date to be defined latersaid President Joko Widodo. Indonesia has been experiencing a shortage of refined palm oil, the most widely used cooking oil in the Southeast Asian archipelago, since November as producers favored exports to benefit from rising world prices for this commodity.

But the Indonesian government is concerned about the development of social tensions in the face of rising food prices and the scarcity of this essential food. “We will continue to monitor and evaluate the application of this policy to ensure that cooking oil in the country is abundant and affordable.“, Continued the president.

Long lines

Jakarta began restricting exports in January, with a new measure requiring producers to reserve part of their sales for the domestic market and imposing a maximum price. The president also promised to pay bonuses in April to allow the more modest to stock up on oil. However, the supply of palm oil has become increasingly problematic in markets, shops and supermarkets. Long lines of consumers were seen across the country in front of subsidized oil distribution centers.

This week, the prosecution arrested a senior Commerce Ministry official on suspicion of corruption and accused him of granting export permits to several palm oil producers despite failing to meet domestic delivery quotas. The prosecution also arrested officials of three major palm oil groups, including a local branch of Singapore giant Wilmar International.

Palm oil is the most consumed vegetable oil in the archipelago, which is also the world’s leading producer of this oilseed, which is widely exported for industry, from cosmetics to food. Edible oils hit all-time highs in March due to insufficient global supplies following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, two of the top sunflower oil producing nations.

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