UNDERSTANDING COOKING OIL PRICE POLEMIC – Economic uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic still plagues the world, but the agricultural sector has proven to remain strong and become the main pillar of the Indonesian economy. This resilience has a significant effect on reducing poverty and unemployment in rural areas. Part of the factors that are the mainstay of the agricultural sector, which is still concentrated on plantation commodities, especially palm oil. One of the reasons is because the export value is influenced by the increase in international crude palm oil (CPO) prices. Like a simalakama fruit, this situation also raises the price of palm-
derived products such as cooking oil. Meanwhile, oil palm farmers do not necessarily enjoy directly from the increase in cooking oil prices. Throughout 2021, oil palm smallholders actually experienced many dilemmas. On the one hand, the price of Oil Palm Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB) has increased, on the other hand, the price of production facilities such as fertilizer at the kiosk level has also increased at an unreasonable price. This has an impact on increasing the production costs of oil palm farmers.
The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) in December 2021 recorded an inflation of 0.57 percent, and the food/beverage group contributed the highest inflation. Inflation is also marked by increases in several food prices, and of course, including cooking oil. Even BPS stated that the increase in cooking oil prices had a share of 0.31 percent of the increase in inflation throughout 2021. Based on data from the National Strategic Food Price Information Center (PIHPS), as of December 31, 2021, the national average price of bulk cooking oil was IDR 17,800 per kilogram. The price then continued to soar to reach Rp. 18,800 per kilogram on January 17, 2022. The increase in the price of cooking oil that continues to skyrocket has certainly added to the burden on people who are rising through the recovery phase from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Then who will enjoy the most increase in CPO and cooking oil prices?