Jakarta (Reuters) – Indonesia is likely to export 12% less palm oil in 2020 than previously expected, an official at the country’s Estate Crop Fund (BPDP), a government agency in charge of collecting and managing palm oil export levies said on Wednesday.

“Right now, it is rather difficult to export as some countries are in lockdown,” Fajar Wahyudi, head of the fund disbursement division at BPDP told a virtual briefing.

“We project that there will be a decline in palm oil exports by more or less than 12% (than previously expected),” he said.

BPDP had earlier expected Indonesia to export 37.94 million tonnes of palm oil.

“Hence, the B30 program is an excellent alternative in absorbing our palm oil. This way, crude palm oil prices and welfare of the farmers will be maintained,” Wahyudi added.

Wahyudi was referring to Indonesia’s ambitious biodiesel programme which mandates diesel to be blended with 30% palm-based bio-content.

Indonesia on Monday said that it is set to distribute $2.78 trillion rupiah ($2.78 trillion) for its ambitious B30 biodiesel programme and increase its palm oil export levy by $5 per tonne.

Febrio Kacaribu, head of the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office, said last week that the Estate Crop Fund that collects the palm export levy does not have enough funds to subsidise the program until the end of the year.

($1 = $1.0000)

(Reporting by Bernadette Christina; Writing by Fathin Ungku, editing by Louise Heavens)