Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Trade Minister Gita Wiryawan said he was not against exporting rattan but needed to encourage domestic industries to turn out rattan goods with added value for the international market.

Speaking to the press after attending a meeting at the Industry Ministry on the implementation of the government`s rattan policy here Monday, he said his statement was his clarification of the ban on raw rattan exports issued by his office.

"This policy is not just to ban the activity but to increase the value of our rattan exports," Gita said, adding the ministers of forestry, industry and internal affairs had agreed to this policy.

"They agreed and we will take measures to support this policy," he said. The measures would include the rejuvenation of rattan cultivation lands and expanding the rattan industry out of Java.

"We have to stop the Java-centeredness of the rattan industry," the minister said.

He said the efforts to expand the rattan industry to other islands outside Java should be supported by adequate infrastructure such as electricity and transportation.

Meanwhile, the governors of Central Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi and Central Kalimantan which are rattan-producing regions, said they supported the government`s decision to ban raw rattan exports.

They said Indonesian rattan accounted for 25 percent of world production and, therefore, Indonesia could become the number one exporter of rattan-based goods.

Central Sulawesi Governor Longki Djanggola said his administration had issued a regulation requiring all government agencies and public offices in the province to use rattan furniture.

"We have ordered 4 thousand units of rattan chairs and tables for all schools in Palu, Central Sulawesi, as a pilot-project that will be carried out in the middle of this year," said Djanggola.

Djanggola, who is also general secretary of the Indonesian Governors Association, said other rattan -producing provinces had agreed to adopt the same policy. (*)

Editor: Kunto Wibisono
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