Export of Oleochemical Products Increased During The Covid-19 Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic, which has shocked the entire world community, has not yet shown its end. Despite the decline in Covid-19 confirmation cases in several countries, but these conditions have not yet occurred in Indonesia even though the Government of Indonesia has implemented a Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) policy. Until Wednesday (5/22/2020), the number of positive confirmed cases of Covid-19 has reached more than 20 thousand cases.
Although the curve of the Covid-19 case in Indonesia has not shown a flatten curve, there is a discourse by the Government to loosen the PSBB policy that is widely discussed by the public. This means that people must be ready to enter the era of new normal life in the pandemic. According to President Jokowi, the new normal era was marked by returning to productive activities while still implementing health protocols. The health protocol indicated by maintain physical distance, wear masks and regularly wash hands (hygiene).
The activity of maintaining hygiene as one of the required health protocols in the pandemic has implications for increasing the needs of various surfactant products (daily care) to maintain body hygiene such as soap, hand sanitizer and detergent. Increased demand for various surfactant products (daily care) also has an impact on increasing raw materials to produce that products.
Palm oil as a raw material for biosurfactant products (daily care) which produces personal care products has also increased. With the ability of palm biosurfactants to bind fats and oils, the use of biosurfactants is quite extensive as a cleanser and has been widely used in daily life such as soaps, shampoos, detergents and other cleaning agents.
Palm oil as an alternative solution for biosurfactant raw materials that is effective in maintaining hygiene, killing germs, and also being environmentally friendly. Another advantage of palm oil as a raw material of biosurfactant product is the ability of palm oil, especially lauric oil contained in Palm Kernel Oil which can produce a lot of foam effect and has broad spectrum of microbial properties that are effective in killing bacteria and viruses but still maintain healthy skin.
Increased demand for palm oil as a raw material for biosurfactant products (daily care) during the Covid-19 pandemic did not only occur in Indonesia, but also occurred in various countries. This causes the export of palm oil as an oleochemical (biosurfactant) product also increased. Referring to the Central Statistics Agency data that the performance (volume) of Indonesian oleochemical exports is increased about 31.7 percent and 14.4 percent in Januari and Februari 2020 when compared to the same period in 2019.
In fact, the Association of Indonesian Oleochemical Producers (APOLIN) also estimates that the export performance of oleochemical products in 2020 will increase and positive growth both of the export volume reach 3.4 – 3.7 million tons and the export value reach USD 2.5-2.6 billion.
The palm oil based oleochemical industry is also optimistic in the pandemic Covid-19, because the export market for oleochemical products will not be disrupted even though the country implements a lockdown policy. The main port facilities and distribution channels will continue to operate because oleochemical products needed to produce biosurfactant products (daily care) have been classified as basic needs in the pandemic era, as are food products and medicines.
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