If palm oil has not been produced by Indonesia and Malaysia as much as it is now, then low-income countries will find it difficult to buy vegetable oil and their derivatives.
Some people do not realize that Indonesia, so far, has been indirectly providing significant solution to all nations especially towards the poor people around the world. Successful development in Indonesia has given benefits for them.
During the time when Indonesia managed to increase rice production and even achieved self-sufficiency in rice in 1984, many poor countries which has rice as their staple food such as African countries, south Asian countries were also given a positive impact. Indonesia which was initially the biggest rice importer (before 1984) has successfully achieved self-sufficient in rice and stop importing rice. This resulted in dramatic decline in the world price of rice. During that time, poor countries were able buy more rice and avoid starvation.
This is the main reason for United Nation Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to give an award to Indonesian government in 1984. The honor medal which was given in FAO annual meeting was more than just a symbol of achievement by the government. The success in increasing rice production has prevented other nations from the danger of starvation.
Similar phenomenon has occurred with global vegetable oil. Even without the award from FAO, Indonesia has successfully increased palm oil production and became the largest palm oil producer in the world which made the price of vegetable oil affordable for everyone. Aside from that, the increase in palm oil production has prevented the price of other source of vegetable oil (soybean, rapeseed, sunflower) from getting more expensive. Therefore, people living in developing countries could still enjoy vegetable oil with affordable price.
As it is known globally, currently around 50 percent of the product of vegetable oil is palm oil. Imagine if there is no palm oil, the price for soybean oil, rapeseed oil and other type of vegetable oil is expected to be much more expensive and unaffordable by poor populations which are currently around 1.4 million people.
In the world without palm oil, the price of soybean and soybean oil can reach up to USD 1500-2000 per ton. It is impossible for poor people to afford such price. It will also affect the price of soybean product which is used as feed ingredient for livestock to produce meat and eggs is expected to increase sharply.
Fortunately there is palm oil in global economy. The existence of palm oil that is economically affordable and its relatively stable supply has put a stop towards the increase of vegetable oil in international market. Until recently, the cheapest palm oil in the world is palm oil. Its price is consistently below the price of soybean oil, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil.
From the data of world vegetable consumption, it shows that the consumption of palm oil is the most dominant within low-income countries such as African countries, South Asian countries, middle Asian countries as well as China.
In conclusion, palm oil has brought blessings not only to Indonesia but also to the world community, especially those with low income populations.
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