JOURNAL MONITOR EDITION 26 : THE POTENTIAL OF SUPPLYING PALM OIL-BASED VITAMIN A TO FULFILL DOMESTIC NEEDS
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The supply of vitamin A in Indonesia comes from imports. The volume of Vitamin A products and its derivatives (HS 2936.21.00) imported by Indonesia amounted to 227 tons in 2001 and has more than doubled to 469 tons in 2019. And the import value also has increased from USD 4.38 million to USD 26.97 million during the 2001-2019 period. Most of the source countries of Vitamin A and its derivatives imported by Indonesia comes from Germany (40 percent) and Switzerland (30 percent) and two multinasional companies as a supplier the product to Indonesia, namely BASF (Germany) and Roche (France).
It is estimated that the need for vitamin A in the future for both pharmaceutical and food needs will be even greater and will continue to increase, considering the implementation of SNI 7709: 2019, namely the mandatory policy of fortification of Vitamin A and/or Pro-vitamin A in palm cooking oil product. The aspects that need to be considered in the implementation of the Indonesian National Standard is the supply of vitamin A still imported and not produced domestically. If it continues to rely on imports from international cartel producers, it has the potential to disrupt food security and national economic resilience and threaten Indonesia’s stability and sovereignty in the supply of cooking oil.
In addition, the need for vitamin A is also expected to continue to increase along with the need for micronutrients needed by the body which for increasing body immunity in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. This show that increasing needs for these products in the future. The implication is more foreign exchange will be sacrified to import these products and causing a higher deficit in Indonesia’s trade balance.
Therefore, the fulfillment of need for vitamin A or pro-vitamin A must be sourced from domestic industrial production by utilizing local resources. Palm oil is the richest source of natural carotenoids with a large β-carotene content dan rich of an antioxidant and natural precursor to vitamin A. Processing palm oil into Virgin Red Palm Oil (VRPO) is one of the solutions to develop vitamin or pro-vitamin A which is produce by domestic pharmatical industry, which can be used in both the health or food sectors as a fortivican. Therefore, the largest potential of palm oil and VRPO as a source of vitamin or pro vitamin A must to be maximally utilize through the development of palm oil based vitamin A industry which is must be prompltly encouraged and accelerated.