There were protests in the country due to rising palm oil prices. President Widodo is now reacting with an export ban.
Indonesia, which has stopped palm oil exports, wants to fight the famine and rising prices in its own country as the world’s largest producer of the coveted vegetable raw material.
President Joko Widodo said late Friday evening that the export ban will take effect next Thursday. He added that he will reconsider the decision once the market in the country stabilizes and edible oil is again available at affordable prices.
Criticism of decisions made by economists and politicians
Cooking oil prices in the Southeast Asian country had risen sharply in recent months, given scarce stocks. This sparked protests that threatened to destabilize the government of the island nation of nearly 270 million people.
Economist Bhima Yudhistira, director of the Jakarta-based Center for Economic and Legal Affairs, criticized the decision on Saturday and warned of protests from importing countries. There is no need to completely stop exporting. Instead, the government should enact a regulation in which exporters have to sell 20 percent of their production in the domestic market.
MP Deddy Sitorus from the ruling PDI-P party also warned that the export ban could endanger the future of smallholders and medium-sized palm oil companies in the country.
Use of palm oil in food and cosmetics
Red-brown palm oil is obtained from the pulp of palm oil. There is also palm kernel oil obtained from the seeds of the fruit. Palm oil is mainly used for frying and frying in Asia. However, it is also found in many foods, such as margarine, chocolate, cocoa-containing spreads, ice cream, baked goods, pizzas, and other convenience products.
Palm oil is also mixed into animal feeds and detergents, soaps, cosmetics, waxes and lubricants are high in palm oil. The raw material is also used for biofuel. Indonesia has been criticized for destroying rainforests for palm oil production.
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