After Indonesian authorities caught 2 ships trying to smuggle crude palm oil out of the country earlier this month, they have now foiled yet another oil export attempt. Indonesia’s trade ministry released a statement yesterday saying that authorities seized a ship headed for East Tamor on April 28.
Indonesia banned crude palm oil exports last month in order to control its skyrocketing price. The country’s farmers support the ban, saying it’s necessary for palm oil’s supply and affordability. But the ban has threatened food prices across the globe, and placed extra pressure on already steep cooking oil prices worldwide.
Palm oil is only grown in the tropics, and is by far the most consumed and traded edible oil in the world. It is used to make detergents, margarine, soaps, chocolates, cakes, and cleaning products, among other things. It’s estimated that, when walking into a convenience store in Asia, almost 50% of the products would involve palm oil in their manufacture or are an actual ingredient.
Illegally shipping cooking oil abroad is allegedly one of the reasons for Indonesia’s dramatic price hike. The latest ship reported to get caught smuggling oil out of Indonesia was caught on Java island. The trade ministry claims the ship tricked authorities by not listing cooking oil in the export declaration document. The ministry said that at least 8 shipping containers of cooking oil and other items. Indonesia has impounded at least 81,000 litres of cooking oil from the shipment.
Thailand has also been impacted by the palm oil crisis. In shops, the price has already made its way to 69 and 70 baht per litre.
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