Government continues to promote palm oil

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The Indonesian government continues to improve the quality of its palm oil products and expand markets to non-traditional export destinations as negative campaigns in traditional market such as Europe still continue to take place.

As regards, the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs has set a target to certify 70 percent of the oil palm industry at home through the “Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil” (ISPO) certification by 2020.

“We hope to meet the target. The government will also continue to promote the ISPO so that it would be known as Indonesian standard abroad,” said Wilistra Danny, Plantation and Horticulture official of the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, in Jakarta on Thursday.

He stressed that the government will seriously address turmoil in oil palm industry with efforts aimed at promoting the standard to the international community in an effort to face the negative campaign.

Besides that, Indonesia will also try to expand markets to non-traditional countries. The Ministry of Trade is therefore eyeing new markets, given the negative sentiment from one of its main markets, the European Union, still persists.

Indonesia, through the Ministry of Trade, is seeking to expand markets for its palm oil products and derivatives to new export destinations in the Middle East, South Asia, and other regions.

“The trade of Indonesian palm oil in the European Union market is disturbed, and we are looking at other countries outside the main market,” Director General of National Export Development at the Ministry of Trade Arlinda stated in Jidda on Thursday (Nov 29).

The director general remarked that the products can be exported to markets of non-traditional countries in other parts of the world. She outlined non-traditional countries in several regions where Indonesia had yet to do palm oil trade.

“We can focus on the non-traditional markets of countries in the Persian Gulf border, such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar,” she remarked.

In addition, Indonesia can focus on countries in South Asia, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.

The Ministry of Trade also explores markets in Chile, which is adjacent to Latin America, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. “In eastern Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and even Russian fractional countries are also our target,” Arlinda stated.

In Africa, the Ministry of Trade is negotiating with Mozambique; Tunisia, which is close to Italy; Morocco, which is close to Spain; and Algeria, which has a free trade agreement with Europe.

Speaking in connection with the negative palm oil campaign, Arlinda noted that Indonesia was striving to allay concerns and prove that the allegations filed were untrue.

The issue involving Qatar and other Arab countries can be an opportunity for Indonesia to enter and fulfill the product needs of the country.

Saudi Arabia, according to Indonesian Consul General in Jidda Mohamad Hery Saripuddin, is still interested in Indonesias oil palm products and its derivatives.

“In other parts of the world there is a trivial effort to launch a black campaign, thanks God there is no such a maneuver in Saudi Arabia because of business competition,” said Saripuddin in Jidda on Wednesday (Nov 28).

However, Saripuddin explained that Saudi Arabia is still importing palm oil and its derivatives from countries other than Indonesia, where according to study, the products in those countries are mostly coming from Indonesia.

“This is the duty of the government, in this case the Indonesian Consulate General (KJRI) in Jidda and the Ministry of Trade, to find the clue that is still there,” said Saripuddin.

In line with that, Director General of National Export Development Ministry of Commerce Arlinda sought to provide comprehensive information on palm oil products from Indonesia through palm-based business forums to entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia.

“We will do a business forum for palm oil, giving them knowledge about palm oil products and their derivatives, so they will understand,” said Arlinda.

Saudi Arabia often imported palm products from third countries such as India and Malaysia, where some of their products come from Indonesia. For that, she continued, the Ministry of Trade will convince the Indonesian community in the country to adopt sustainable palm oil products.

“So, if they want, we do not need a third country, right from Indonesia, that is what we are looking for, we ask the Indonesian Trade Promotion Center (ITPC) to be the mediator between our palm oil producers and importers in Saudi Arabia,” Arlinda said.

Palm oil contributed significantly to the countrys foreign exchange earning, amounting to US$22.97 billion, or Rp318 trillion, in 2017. The positive impact was the non-oil and gas trade balance gained a surplus of $11.83 billion.

Source: ANTARA News