JAKARTA: Indonesia's palm oil export ban will be lifted on May 23, as the average price of cooking oil domestically has begun to decrease, said President Joko Widodo on Thursday (May 19).
In a televised statement, Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, said that Indonesia needs about 194,000 tonnes of bulk cooking oil every month.
In March, prior to the export ban, the national supply was only 64,500 tonnes, he said. However, after the export ban was put in place in April, the national supply reached 211,000 tonnes.
The president said that the price of bulk cooking oil was around 19,800 rupiah (US$1.35) per litre before the export ban. The price is currently down to between 17,200 rupiah and 17,600 rupiah per litre, he said.
“Therefore, based on the current supply and price of cooking oil and considering that there are 17 million workers in the palm oil industry … I have decided that cooking oil exports will be allowed again on Monday, 23 May 2022.”
He added that despite the lifting of the ban, the government would continue to monitor the situation to ensure that prices are affordable for the people.
Indonesia is the world's largest producer of palm oil. On Apr 28, the government imposed an export ban on crude and refined palm oil products.
The policy came after months of cooking oil shortage affecting millions of Indonesians. The scarcity had led prices of the commodity to balloon by more than 70 per cent which in turn affected prices of food.
When the ban was announced, the government said that the export ban will stay in place until the price of cooking oil in the country is below 14,000 rupiah per litre.
The ban prompted small farmers to stage a protest in Jakarta earlier this week, as the restriction led to a sharp decrease in palm oil fruit prices.
Checks by CNA at markets this week showed that the price of cooking oil in most parts of Indonesia is hovering above the level of 14,000 rupiah per litre.
As of May 18, data from the trade ministry showed that the average price of bulk cooking oil is 17,100 rupiah per litre nationally.
Bulk cooking oil is priced at 14,000 rupiah per litre in only two out of 34 provinces namely, Riau Islands and Maluku. In West Papua province, the price is 30,000 rupiah per litre.