Trade Ministry eyes North African market for processed food exports

Trade Ministry eyes North African market for processed food exports

Documentation - An Indonesian booth at an international food and beverage products exhibition in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. (ANTARA/M Irfan Ilmie)

At the moment, we see the opportunity for processed foods to be an alternative sought by the public
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Trade is looking to tap into the North African market to boost exports of food and beverages produced in Indonesia — one of the country’s main export items — amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"The North African region, especially Egypt, is a promising market for processed food products from Indonesia," noted director general of National Export Development at the Ministry of Trade, Kasan, at a web seminar on ‘Access for Indonesian Food Products to the Egyptian Market in the COVID-19 Pandemic Era’.

"Through this virtual seminar, we hope that market access for food products to Egypt can be utilized optimally,” he said in a statement received in Jakarta on Friday.

Indonesia has an opportunity to increase exports of processed food in the global market, he remarked.

"At the moment, we see the opportunity for processed foods to be an alternative sought by the public, as they can be stored longer compared to fresh food. People also tend to prefer cooking at home and [using] products that are nutritious, safe, and hygienic," Kasan observed.

He said the pandemic has affected global trade in many ways: global trade patterns have changed, logistics costs have increased, trade cooperation has been rendered ineffective, and the threat of a global economic recession is looming.

The COVID-19 crisis has also had an impact on domestic trade: it has increased potential for inflation in prices of staples and important goods due to logistics and distribution disruptions, inter-island trade has been interrupted, there have been changes in consumption patterns, and purchasing power of people has weakened.

In wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has developed several strategies to increase exports of Indonesian processed foods in the global market. The first strategy involves determining the focus of the market and making superior export products, Kasan said.

Five Indonesian processed food products dominated exports to Egypt in 2019, including sauces, herbs and spices; processed fish, tuna; sugar confectionery, excluding, cocoa; and, processed sardines. In addition, fishery products, food preparations, coffee, chocolate, biscuits, and snacks are some food products Indonesia could potential ship to Egypt, he pointed out.

The second strategy involves increasing market penetration by completing negotiations and overcoming trade barriers, as well as strengthening trade promotions and branding. Efforts to increase market penetration can also be carried out through the organization of virtual seminars, exploration of virtual trade agreements, and exportation of assistance during the pandemic, Kasan said.

The third strategy involves strengthening the role of foreign trade representatives, and the fourth centers on providing export and import relaxation for export destinations.

"We continue to strive to [find ways to] contribute to increasing exports, one of which is facilitating trade activities,” Kasan said adding, the potential of different markets needs to be explored so that exports of Indonesian products, especially processed food, can continue to increase.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Trade Attache in Cairo, Irman Adi Purwanto Moefthi, said that trade representatives will soon form a forum to promote trade activities in Egypt.

The aim is to help businesses connect with buyers and capitalize on available market opportunities, he noted. 

 

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