Indonesia may miss 17 mln tonne palm oil target

Jakarta (Antara News) - Dry weather means Indonesia may miss its target of producing 17 million tonnes of palm oil this year, but it is still on track to overtake Malaysia as the world's top producer, the trade minister said on Friday.

"Our crude palm oil production this year is estimated to reach 16.8 million tonnes, still up from 16 million tonnes last year. However, we may miss the target due to dry weather in early 2007," trade minister Mari Pangestu told reporters.

Malaysia is estimated to produce less than 16 million tonnes of palm oil this year due to lack of new land to be used for planting.

Initially, the Indonesian government and industry officials had forecast the country's crude palm oil production in 2007 would reach 17.4 million tonnes, supported by maturing plants and plantation expansion.

But dry weather early this year prompted the government and industry officials to revise the target to 17 million tonnes.

On Wednesday, a senior agriculture ministry official said Indonesia will be able to meet the target for this year despite the dry weather as production was expected to pick up in the coming months.

"We will achieve the target with God's blessing. There are still three months to go. October to December production can reach 2 million tonnes a month," Achmad Mangga Barani, director-general for plantation crops at the Agriculture Ministry, told Reuters. (*)
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