Palm nut price boost planned

The Commerce Ministry is proposing to take 30,000 tonnes of crude palm oil a month off the market to shore up the price of fresh palm nuts.

Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom has sought cooperation from private palm refineries to buy fresh palm at 4 baht a kilogramme against the current market price of 2 baht/kg.

Tumbling fresh palm nut prices have caused dissatisfaction among farmers, particularly in the South. Palm oil farmers from six provinces in the South plan to gather in Bangkok today to demand the government intervene in palm nut prices.

The Commerce Ministry yesterday called an urgent meeting with private oil refineries to seek out ways to boost the price of palm nuts.

Director-general of the Internal Trade Department, Wiboonlasana Ruamraksa said after the meeting that the ministry will ask oil refineries to buy palm nuts at 4 baht per kg while it will allow the refineries to maintain the retail price of refined palm oil at 42 baht per litre.

This means consumers of refined palm oil will have to bear the burden of the intervention scheme, a source at the meeting explained.

Ms Wiboonlasana said the meeting also resolved on measures to take 30,000 tonnes a month of crude palm oil off the market. It will involve asking the Energy Ministry to encourage private firms and state enterprises in the energy sector to produce and use more palm-oil based ethanol as fuel as well as to use more ethanol in power generation.

At present, there are 30,000 to 60,000 tonnes of excess crude palm oil a month in the system.

In addition, the Commerce Ministry will boost exports of palm oil.

Ms Wiboonlasana said approval for the measures would be sought from the National Oil Palm Committee as soon as possible.

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Writer: Phusadee Arunmas
Position: Business Reporter