Wed, 14 Apr 2010

Makassar, S Sumatra (ANTARA News) - Agriculture Minister Suswono has promised to evaluate a finance ministerial decree which imposes a 15 percent tax on cocoa exports.

"Basically, this policy will fully be supported if it has the aim of improving farmers` income and competitiveness but we will evaluate it if it proves to disadvantage them," the minister said here on Tuesday.

The finance minister has issued Decree No. 67 / 2010 on Cocoa Export Tax which reaches 15 percent effective April 1, 2010.

Suwono said that his ministry would do its best to find a solution in order to serve the interest of cacao farmers.

"With the policy, cocoa will be exported in the form of powdered products or fermented cocoa oil, not in the form of cacao seeds," the minister said.

He said that the value of fermented cocoa was higher and it would attract foreign investors to build their factories at home.

The problem is that farmers are not informed of cocoa prices in the market and in this case traders could make use of it, Suswono said.

Earlier this month, chairman of the South Sulawesi Cacao Farmers Association (APKAI), Sulaiman said the imposition of the 15 percent cocoa export tax harmed the interest of cacao farmers.(*)