Palm oil traders in Thailand are set to discuss the use of blockchain in their industry with the country’s energy business department, the Bangkok Post reported on 14 May.

Energy minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said the ministry expected to implement a blockchain system in June as a relief measure for planters struggling with low, unstable palm prices.

“The government is trying to control domestic palm oil prices and raised the content of blended biofuel gasoline to 10% (B10) and 20% (B20) in April 2019 to absorb the surplus volume of crude palm oil (CPO) and keep the price of fresh palm nuts above three baht per kilogramme,” he said.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had affected palm oil consumption for cooking and biofuel, he said.

A blockchain system would cut out the middleman between palm planters and palm oil mills, in theory allowing planters to sell the commodity at higher prices.

For example, planters currently sold palm nuts, the raw material to make palm oil, at 2.70 baht/kg to middlemen but the real cost of palm nuts should be 3.50 baht/kg, according to planters.

The ministry expected the country to produce 2.2M tonnes of CPO this year.