Saudi Arabia has become the new export destination for the farmers
Bandar Lampung (ANTARA) - Minister of Trade Zulkifli Hasan sent off the inaugural exports of areca palms harvested in Lampung province and valued at over Rp542 million (US$34.1 thousand) to Saudi Arabia.

"These areca palms are an original commodity produced in Sumatra, which is home to a plethora of areca palms. In fact, we are currently in the harvesting season," he noted in Bandar Lampung city, Lampung, on Monday.

Minister Hasan said that the Ministry of Trade assisted in the export of the areca palms to Saudi Arabia.

"The initial destination of these areca palms was India. However, the country imposes tax at a too high rate and offers an unfavorable price. The tax is about 115 percent, so it is not possible to sell the areca palms to India," he disclosed.

Hence, farmers in Lampung tried to explore other potential markets for their areca palms and eventually zeroed in on Saudi Arabia, he added.

"Saudi Arabia has become the new export destination for the farmers. The value of the contract of the exports is quite high. However, the exports will be carried out gradually," he elaborated.

The minister noted that a total of 18 tons of areca palms have been exported by PT BUMR BiMU, a company assisted by the Trade Ministry.

Meanwhile, a representative from PT BUMR BiMU, Muhammad Arif Setiawan, informed that the areca palms originated from several regions of Lampung province.

"Most of the areca palms being exported today came from Tanggamus district, Pesisir Barat district, South Lampung district, and several other regions. The areca palms being transported to Saudi Arabia are of premium quality," he informed.

According to him, Lampung has been receiving export demand of 10–15 containers for areca palms each month.

However, Lampung must continue to improve the quality and productivity of its areca palms, he added.

"Non-premium areca palms will be sold to Bangladesh and Pakistan," Setiawan said.

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Translator: Ruth Intan, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Sri Haryati
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