Pontianak, West Kalimantan (ANTARA) - Palm and rubber commodities remain the mainstay for West Kalimantan’s businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Prof. Dr Eddy Suratman, academic for economic studies of Tanjungpura University in Pontianak, West Kalimantan.

"With all business sectors affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, palm and rubber commodities remain the mainstay for West Kalimantan’s residents working in the industry. Stable commodity prices ensure stable income for farmers too," Prof. Suratman noted here, Saturday.

Suratman remarked that the recent hike in prices of palm commodities, either raw fruit or crude palm oil, directly affected West Kalimantan’s residents.

"When the prices of palm and rubber commodities start increasing, residents working in the industry would receive the fortunes. An increase in the farmers' terms of trade would translate to an increase in the farmers' income as well," Suratman remarked.

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He called for the industry to maintain the quality of crops, as high-quality products will attract more buyers.

Prof. Suratman also suggested reducing the rubber market chain to allow higher price bids for farmers and to enable them to secure more income.

According to the West Kalimantan Provincial Farm and Plantation Office data, the price for palm and rubber commodities increased in the second period of July 2021.

Raw palm fruit, aged 10-20 years, is currently priced at Rp2,291.19 (around US$0.1) per kilogram. The price of crude palm oil increased, from Rp8,847.63 (around US$0.6) to Rp10,534.94 (around US$0.7) per kilogram, while the price of palm kernels remained stable at Rp5,907.89 (around US$0.4) per kilogram.

Natural rubber, with percentage of dry rubber content reaching 100 percent, was currently priced at Rp21,500 (around US$1.5) per kilogram, while rubber prices at the farmers’ level in Sambas District reached Rp12,500 (around US$0.8) per kilogram.

Meanwhile, chairperson of the West Kalimantan Branch of the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (Gapki) Purwanti Munawir stated that the price of crude palm oil in West Kalimantan for the first semester of 2021 remains high despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

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"As one of the strategic export commodities, the price of crude palm oil in West Kalimantan remained stable and also increased in the first semester of 2021. This clearly showed us that palm remains a reliable commodity with proven durability," she remarked.

Munawir highlighted that the average price of crude palm oil in the first semester of 2021 remained at Rp9,907 (around US$0.6) per kilogram, while the highest price was recorded at Rp10,771 (around US$0.7) per kilogram.

"The current price is better if we compared it with the average price for the same period last year that reached only Rp7,663 (around US$0.53). The 2020 annual price average for crude palm oil was recorded at Rp8,117 (around US$0.56) per kilogram," she noted.

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Translator: Dedi, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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