JAKARTA – The Indonesian government began to explore the potential of rice exports to the Middle East region as part of the target of shipping 500,000 tons of these commodities to the global market.
The Expert Staff of the Minister of Agriculture in International Trade and Relations Banun Harpini said that so far the country that had been explored for export purposes was Saudi Arabia. According to him, the potential for exports to the country is very large considering the number of Indonesian citizens who perform Umrah and Hajj.
In addition, the number of Indonesian workers in Saudi Arabia is fairly large, the largest in the Middle East region.
“Earlier in the discussion with the Saudi Ambassador, at least exports were not only for Umrah and Hajj pilgrims, but our TKIs were also quite large,” he said after attending a meeting between the Minister of Agriculture and the Saudi Ambassador to Indonesia Esam A. Abid Al Thagafi at the Ministry of Agriculture office, Thursday (12/12/2019).
During the meeting, Banun also stated that Indonesia’s desire to export to Saudi Arabia was inseparable from the high demand for rice in the country. So far, rice supplies to Saudi have come from a number of countries such as Thailand and India.
“So far, the target is still to our diaspora who are there. However, it does not rule out demand from the Saudi local market is also large,” he added.
In addition to exploring rice exports, Indonesia also offers other commodities such as livestock products and horticulture. He explained that so far the export of Indonesian livestock products only included processed poultry.
Going forward, Indonesia will offer frozen chicken amid limited supply from Brazil due to Salmonella bacteria.
“During this time, chicken supply to Saudi Arabia from Brazil, but there is being attacked by Salmonella so that for a while Brazilian chickens do not enter Saudi Arabia. From there, Indonesia can take the opportunity,” he added.
During the January-September 2019 period, the value of exports of Indonesian agricultural products to Saudi Arabia was recorded at US $ 258.34 million with the plantation sub-sector contributing US $ 244.01 million. The import value of Saudi origin during this period stood at US $ 4.79 million. Thus, Indonesia enjoyed a surplus of US $ 253.54 million.