"I am optimistic that Belitung's white pepper of good quality will be able to enter the world market," Saleh noted on Saturday in response to the delivery of white pepper samples to five countries by the Plasma Kacang Butor Belitung Cooperative.
White pepper from Belitung will be able to compete with those from other countries in the world owing to the level of spiciness and its distinctive aroma, he stated.
"I encourage pepper farmers, both individuals and those who are members of cooperatives, to improve the quality of pepper, from planting to its storage," Saleh affirmed.
The district head noted that buyers or investors will prioritize the quality of the commodity when they buy pepper from farmers.
Based on data, pepper production in Belitung until the end of August had reached 3,100 tons from the production target of 5,255 tons for the 2021 harvest season.
Chairman of the Plasma Kacang Butor Belitung Cooperative, Suhardi, said his side had sent samples of white pepper to Canada, Russia, Romania, Singapore, and China.
The delivery of white pepper samples to the five destinations aims to introduce and open up marketing opportunities for white pepper from Belitung to the global market.
"We are still awaiting answers from five countries that were sent samples of white pepper. We expect them to accept our white pepper offering," he remarked.
Some 164 pepper farmers have joined the Plasma Kacang Butor Belitung Cooperative with the ability to harvest a total of 48 tons.
"For domestic marketing, it is currently marketed to two companies in Jakarta and Bandung, and for Jakarta, we have sent six tons of pepper from the agreement of 16 tons, while the remaining 10 tons will be sent next after the COVID-19 pandemic conditions are considered safe enough," Suhardi noted.
The Belitung District not only has potential in the plantation sector but is also popular for its nature tourism that attracts domestic and foreign visitors.
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