M Faiz Zaki, Jakarta – The Indonesian Farmers Union (SPI) on Sunday afternoon announced that palm oil farmers had racked up losses amounting to Rp250 billion after the Indonesian government temporarily suspended the exports of crude palm oil and its derivative products. According to SPI chairperson Henry Saragih, the financial losses are only gathered from union member farmers.
"We estimate that 100,000 hectares for roughly a week, our farmers lost Rp250 billion," said Saragih on Sunday afternoon on May 8.
This loss was calculated from April 23 up to April 28 as the temporary ban on CPO exports had caused a drop in the prices of palm fresh fruit bunches (FFB) from the initial 3,000 rupiahs for every kilogram to what is now essentially half of it to the range of Rp1,500 – RP1,600 for every kilogram.
The sudden nosedive of palm oil value in a small amount of time greatly reduced the income of farmers. "In other areas, some farmers were unable to sell their product at all," he asserted.
Henry elaborated that palm FFBs are processed within 24 hours of their initial harvest and that farmers are faced with the option of dumping their produce or turning it into compost.
He said that it is still uncertain when the government would pull the plug on the palm oil export ban and have no other option but to wait it out.
Representative of the Ministry of Trade Veri Anggrijono on May 8, said the government is still monitoring the condition and the dynamics of cooking oil prices in the market before making any decision regarding the suspended palm oil export policy.