Commerce Ministry: Palm fruit price drop unrelated to palm oil import earlier

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BANGKOK, 7 May 2015 – The Ministry of Commerce has denied the speculation that the previous import of palm oil was the cause of the current decline in the price of palm fruit.

Permanent Secretary for Commerce Chutima Bunyapraphasara insisted that the ministry is not being complacent about the reported price slump in oil palm fruit in the southern region. She also confirmed that the problem did not result from the decision to import 50,000 tons of crude palm oil at the beginning of this year.

Based on a recent survey on the oil palm situation in Krabi, Surat Thani and Chumphon provinces, the Permanent Secretary revealed that the price of palm fruit with 17 percent oil content is still in compliance with the resolution of the Committee on Goods and Services Prices which pegs the price at 4 baht per kilogram.

Such a resolution stemmed from an earlier agreement by all related sides, including palm growers, extractors and refiners as well as the Ministries of Commerce and Agriculture and Cooperatives.

However, many planters are calling for palm processors to buy the fruit at 5 baht a kilo, instead of 4 baht. The increase would inevitably push up the production cost of bottled palm oil. Therefore, Ms Chutima said the Department of Internal Trade will seek talks with provincial governors in the South in a bid to come up with appropriate solutions.