06/04/05 The Jakarta Post, Jakarta - Indonesia exported 8.66 million tonsof crude palm oil last year, or up about a third from the previous year's6.39 million tons, thanks to better production, according to data from theCentral Statistic Agency (BPS) and Gapki.
Last year's exports also far exceeded Indonesian Palm Oil ProducersAssociation (Gapki)'s exports estimation of 7 million tons for 2004.
"Apparently, we have a far better production which has exceeded ourexpectations," Gapki chairman Derom Bangun told The Jakarta Post.
Derom said last year's climate was very conducive for palm oil production.Moreover, improved infrastructure in Kalimantan and Sumatra, where mostoil palm plantations were located, also contributed greatly to the output.
Based on export statistics, he said last year's production reached about12 million tons, as against the association's projection of 10.8 milliontons.
"Overall stability in the country also enabled plantations to payattention to maintenance, and eventually increase per-hectareproductivity," said Derom.
For this year, he expected exports could reach 9.5 million tons, assumingthat domestic consumption would remain at some 3.4 million tons per year.
According to BPS data, China and India remains Indonesia's main palm oilmarkets. Indonesia also exports to Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Netherlandsand some new markets such as countries in Eastern Europe.
The data showed Indonesia exported 1.75 million tons of crude palm oil toIndia and 20,117 tons to China last year.
Meanwhile, palm oil products, including olein, exports to India reached1.02 million tons and exports to China stood at 1.06 million tons lastyear.
Derom said that aside from increased production, the rising exports werealso attributable to expansion, in terms of volume.
"The BPS data shows that we exported to more than a hundred countries lastyear," he said.
Indonesia is the world's second largest exporter after Malaysia of palmoil -- a raw material for, among other things, cooking oil, soap anddetergent.
Output from the two countries makes up about 85 percent of yearly globalpalm oil production.