Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Agriculture Ministry has come up with some strategies to boost Indonesia's exports of plantation commodities amid the COVID-19 pandemic and sought an alternative market for the exports.

The ministry's Director General of Plantation Kasdi Subagyono affirmed that the ministry had studied alternative markets as a precautionary measure against the declining demand from China in 2020.

"This is a follow up to Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo's instruction that agriculture must become the toughest sector in tackling any crisis. We are not only focusing on hiking production but also seeking an alternative market for exports," Subagyono remarked here on Thursday.

Exports to China are expected to plunge as the country has restricted the transportation of goods to halt the further spread of coronavirus, he noted.

China is the largest trade partner for Indonesia that exports various plantation commodities, such as palm oil, coconut, cacao, rubber, coffee, tea, pepper, nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon.

Subagyono noted that the ministry had lobbied some new partner countries for the direct export of commodities that were earlier exported through China.

"We will also negotiate the agreement on import duties with destination countries and offer facilities for bilateral trade, such as for sugar, vanaspati ghee (palm oil), and other commodities," he added.

The ministry will improve product quality, brand image, and product continuity. It will also enhance trade cooperation to open market access, with support of Indonesia's representatives overseas, expedite existing cooperation, and forge new agreements.

He cited the example of palm oil exports to China that are expected to decline this year. The ministry will increase its exports of palm oil by 20 percent to India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and by five percent to the United States.

Exports to Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, and Iran are targeted to rise 10 percent, while a five-percent surge is projected in domestic consumption.

Subagyono admitted to having prepared targets of increasing rubber exports to alternative markets in 2020.

"We will boost exports to Germany and France by 10 percent, to the United States and Argentine, 10 percent; Japan and South Korea, 7.5 percent; and South Africa, 2.5 percent, while domestic consumption is targeted to increase five percent," he added. Related news: SOE's Perindo exports 15 tons of octopus to Japan amid pandemic
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Translator: Mentari DG, Sri Haryati
Editor: Suharto
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