President asks state firms to cultivate fruits

"We hope that fruit export could be increased. In the future, we want to see state firms plant not just oil palm and rubber but fruits too," Jokowi said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo has asked state-owned plantation firms to cultivate fruits, in addition to the current oil palm and rubber estate, in a bid to boost local fruits export.

"We hope that fruit export could be increased. In the future, we want to see state firms plant not just oil palm and rubber but fruits too," Widodo, or popularly known as Jokowi, said at the launch of a campaign on local fruit consumption here on Thursday.

He recommended state-run companies to prepare 10 thousand to 50 thousand hectares of lands to cultivate fruits.

The president disclosed that last year he has asked the Bogor Agriculture Institute (IPB) to start establishing fruit plantations with minimum area of 5-50 hectares in some regions with fruit production potential.

"We want our local fruits to enter the export market," Jokowi added.

He admitted that Indonesia could not meet the demand from the huge fruit export market, especially for mangosteens, pineapples, and avocadoes.

"There is a lot of demand that we cannot supply, including for avocadoes. For bananas, we are behind other countries," Jokowi said, adding that the countrys fruit potential has yet to be well managed.

"Post-harvesting of fruits is not well-managed; for instance, we have substandard cutting, diverse quality and bad packaging," he said.

On the flow of imported fruits, Jokowi pointed out that it could be reduced by increasing local fruit production.

Currently, Indonesia has become one of 20 countries that dominate the global fruit market.

"I have told the Agriculture Minister to expand fruit plantations. If we have 14 million hectares of oil palm plantation, we can have it for fruit cultivation too. By doing this, Indonesia can dominate the worlds fruit market," he said.

The president also called on local governments to facilitate the development of fruit plantations.

"Please inform me if you find any hindered regulations, including in infrastructure and logistics. I will extend my support, if necessary," he said.

The event was also attended by Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman, IPB chancellor Herry Suhardiyanto, State-Run Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno, Coordinating Minister for Economy Darmin Nasution, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, and Research and Technology Minister Mohamad Nasir.(*)

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