Ministry sticks to plan to help palm growers

Ministry sticks to plan to help palm growers

Palm oil farmers will benefit from the Commerce Ministry's plan to mark up cooking palm oil prices. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Palm oil farmers will benefit from the Commerce Ministry's plan to mark up cooking palm oil prices. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Despite criticism, the Commerce Ministry stays committed to calling on retailers to mark up prices of cooking palm oil to reflect higher costs, in part to help boost domestic oil palm prices.

“The department has been closely following up the oil palm and palm oil situation to strike a balance of the country’s overall palm market,” Whichai Phochanakij, director-general of the Internal Trade Department said on Monday. “It’s the department’s direct responsibility to not only to supervise the fairness to consumers but also stabilise the prices of domestic farm product prices for farmers.”

According to Mr Whichai, pictures shown through social media that certain leading retailers have informed customers that they have to raise the prices of cooking palm oil from 24 baht to 34 baht per a one-litre bottle is a complete misleading communication, as the department has not forced them to raise the prices by 10 baht a bottle at once.

“The department wants to clarify that those retailers have been just asked for cooperation to halt any sales promotion programme for certain period, as the programme may draw others to follow suits and put more pressure on the fresh palm nut prices back to 1-2 baht per kg as in the past,” said Mr Whichai. “Palm oil for consumption amounts to about 1.1 million tonnes a year or about 40% of the total consumption. Any price competition will definitely affect the farmers.”

According to Mr Whichai, the department has also teamed up with the national security’s officials and the Customs Department to help tighten their inspection to prevent the palm oil smuggling from Malaysia along the border after Thailand’s crude oil palm prices stand at 19-20 baht per kg, five baht per kg than those in Malaysia.

“The local fresh palm nut prices are now quoted at 3.20-3.50 baht per kg from 1.80-2.0 baht during April, making the farmers slightly profitable,” he said.



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