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Gov't edible oil brand in great demand but supplies drop sharply

Jakarta Globe - February 3, 2023

BTV, Tangerang – Affordable cooking oil brand Minyakita, initiated by the Trade Ministry last year to cope with nationwide shortage, has gone scarce in some public markets across the country.

Minyakita was launched in July 2022 when the government banned crude palm oil exports due to the cooking oil shortage in the world's largest CPO producer, though a while after the ban was lifted.

It's a collaboration of major CPO producers with government subsidies to keep the ceiling price at Rp 14,000 or just around $1 per liter. Private companies involved in the program are given the permit to sell crude palm oil to overseas markets at a volume of 20 percent more than their contribution to the program.

But in Mataram, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara, consumers turn to non-branded edible oil simply because they cannot find Minyakita in the market.

"There has been no supply of Minyakita since January so I sell non-branded cooking oil instead," said Anisa, a trader at a traditional market in Mataram.

The non-branded product is sold at around Rp 16,000 per liter and soon received soaring demand as it became the cheapest cooking oil in the market, she added.

Sukandi, a merchant in Tigaraksa traditional market in the Jakarta suburb of Tangerang, said it has been two weeks since he last sold Minyakita as he no longer received supplies from the distributor. He has sent an order request, but the distributor has yet to send any. As of this moment, he can only sell cooking oil in bulk and other edible oil brands.

"I've stopped selling Minyakita, because if we order the item, all the agents and distributors said there is no stock. Never mind us, even the distributors don't have any supply, I'm so confused as to where it went," Sukandi said.

Sukandi used to get 10 cartons of Minyakita supply every week and would sell out in four to five days before the government brand disappeared from the market.

"One carton contains 12 pieces, at most I only got 10 cartons, and it's quite difficult to get. In this market, Minyakita sold out really quickly, but because the item is not here anymore, people moved on to another brand. Street merchants bought Minyakita for its affordable price," Sukandi said.

Indah Nurwulan, the head of Tigaraksa Market in Tangerang, said Minyakita has been gone for two weeks and its price is also rising due to the scarcity.

"There is one merchant who only got one box and the price is higher than the ceiling retail price. It reached Rp 16,000 and there's even another merchant who sold it at Rp 17,000," Indah said.

Aside from Minyakita, prices of bulk cooking oil in the Tigaraksa market are starting to climb. The bulk cooking oil price has increased from previously Rp 14,000 to Rp 15,000 per liter since the stock from the distributor is limited.

Putri Retno, a mother living in Tangerang, said she was forced to buy a more expensive cooking oil brand with the absence of Minyakita.

"Minyakita is out of stock and prices of other cooking oil products are also increasing. My hope is that prices will go down, including prices of groceries, that's my wish as a housewife," Putri said.

The shortage of cheap cooking oil hits fried snack traders, like Marni, primarily harder. "I'm using bulk cooking oil because Minyakita is rare," Marni said.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/business/govt-edible-oil-brand-in-great-demand-but-supplies-drop-sharpl