Indonesian farmers, hundreds of them protested on May 17, 2022 in the capital Jakarta. They demand the government to end the palm oil export ban that has endangered their income. Indonesia is the world’s largest palm oil exporter. Since April 28, the country has halted shipments of crude palm oil and some of its related products. The government expects that it could control the soaring price of domestic cooking oil. It rattles global vegetable oil markets.
However, although the government attempted to control the domestic oil price, the effort was in vain.
On the other hand, the result prompts farmers’ backlash against the government and the affordability of the price. One of the protesters held up a poster saying that Malaysian farmers smile, Indonesians suffer. According to the farmers, Malaysia, as the world’s second largest palm oil producer, would fill the gap where Indonesia is lacking.
The farmers staged a protest outside the offices of the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs, next to a truck full of palm oil fruits. They attempted to expose the government’s palm oil policy. APKASINDO, a small group of farmers, argued that the export price of palm oil plunged to 70%. This is exactly below a floor price set by regional authorities.
According to APKASINDO, mills have stopped buying palm fruit from independent farmers since the ban. Their estimation was around 25% of them have quitted buying. A farmer from West Kalimantan, Albertus Wawan, indicated that the storage tanks are filling up at mills. APKASINDO added that the protesters would continue to protest at the presidential palace.
Yuslan Thamrin, a farmer, said that poor prices would make farmers hesitate to harvest. The fact is that mills would also not buy more fruits because their storage is full. Bambang Gianto, a farmer, agreed by saying that it is quite a dilemma for farmers. When fruit is not profitable, they cannot just leave it rotten and damage the trees.