"Indonesia has become the biggest South Sea pearl producer since 2005. It has controlled 50 percent of the worlds pearl production. Its export value has reached US$29 million," stated Marine Affairs and Fisheries Minister Sharif C. Sutardjo.
Even though Indonesia is the worlds biggest producer, its pearl industry has not yet been able to dominate the worlds pearl market. Sutardjo noted that the Indonesian South Sea Pearl (ISSP) was yet to become popular in the world market, even though it has a very high economic potential.
The Indonesian pearl has an incredible economical potential, and Indonesia is already the worlds largest producer of South Sea Pearl (SSP), but the fact remains that the commodity is not extensively known in the international pearl market.
Therefore, the government will hold an Indonesian Pearl Festival (IPF) to showcase its pearl potential to businesses.
The government is partnering with the private sector to launch a number of initiatives aimed at boosting its pearl industry. One of the initiatives is the IPF, which will be held on August 27-29 in Jakarta.
The production centers of Indonesias South Sea pearls are the waters of the provinces of Bali, West Nusa Tenggara (particularly on Lobok and Sumbawa islands), Sulawesi, Maluku and Papua, among several others.
In Lombok, Indonesias pearl production is known as South Seas golden pearl and is cultivated in the western coastal areas of the islands.
As the largest South Sea pearl producer, Indonesia produced 12 tons of the commodity in 2005 and increased production to 18 tons in 2009.
One of the pearl production centers, Sulawesi, also has potential pearl cultivation areas. In Gorontalo, the local government has even sought Japanese collaboration in order to develop a pearl production center.
According to North Gorontalo Deputy District Head Roni Imran, the Ehime Economic Council of Japan has offered assistance for development of the pearl industry in North Gorontalo district, Sulawesi.
On Friday, Roni stated that the Ehime Economic Council of Japan can easily provide assistance as long as the local pearl farmers were united in preserving the environment, so that it remains free from contamination.
"It will provide ample assistance for the development of dry pearl breeding, including the development of high technology in agricultural development as far as the environment can be preserved," Roni added.
During a visit to Japan, North Gorontalo District Head Indra Yasin signed a cooperation agreement with the Japanese side at the Ehime University.
In the meantime, North Sulawesi Governor Sinyo Harry Sarundajang on Thursday visited a pearl production firm operating on Gangga Island in North Minahasa District. The governor observed the sea pearl culture process, starting from oyster shell seedling, osculation or injection, preservation, and harvest process.
The pearl cultivation business was carried out by PT Hiroguchi Sinar Insani on the Gangga Island in North Minahasa District.
Aware of the pearl potential, the government is planning to further boost its achievement. Moreover, Indonesia has all the requisite means for mastering pearl cultivation, such as pearl farming areas, human and natural resources, support devices, and technology.
After all, pearl is a mainstay commodity for Indonesia as most of the South Sea pearl reserves are located in the Indonesian waters, remarked Minister Cicip Sutardjo.
"Pearl is one of Indonesias mainstay commodities as it has very good development prospects," the minister asserted.
The demand for pearl ornaments and its prices continue to increase from year to year, he noted. In a bid to educate the society on pearl cultivation, the government has also published a book on the ISSP last September, which is the first-ever book on South Sea pearl.
In the global pearl trade, Indonesia is ranked ninth or has a 2.07 percent market share with its total pearl exports valued at US$ 1.4 billion.
Marines Affairs and Fisheries Ministrys Director General of Fisheries Product Marketing and Processing Saut P. Hutagalung explained that the world pearl market is dominated by four main types of pearl: South Sea Pearl produced by Indonesia, Australia, the Philippines, and Myanmar, Fresh Water Pearl produced by China, Akoya Pearl produced by Japan and China, and Black Pearl by Tahiti.
Indonesias pearl exports were shipped to Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, Switzerland, India, New Zealand, and France, the minister pointed out.
Minister Sharif Cicip Sutardjo reiterated that the value can be further increased since Indonesia has supporting factors, such as pearl culture locations, workers, equipment, and technology.
Therefore, the government thorough the marines affairs and fisheries ministry will continue to encourage the intensive promotion of the ISSP, so that it can contribute to the development of the national economy.