N Sumatra`s fruit exports rise 68 percent to us$149 million

Medan, N Sumatra (ANTARA News) - One of provinces in Indonesia's Sumatra Island, North Sumatra, recorded a 68.75 percent surge in its fruit exports in the first seven months of the year to US$149.57 million, fueled by rising demand and prices.

"Fruit exports were valued at US$88.639 million in the same period last year," chief of the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) in North Sumatra, Wien Kusdiatmono, said here on Saturday.

Malaysia, the Netherlands and Japan were the primary markets for the fruit exports.

Besides crude palm oil and rubber, fruits are one of the provinces 10 key commodities.

Furthermore, fruit exports in the January-July period constituted 2.72 percent of the provinces foreign exchange coffers, which reached US$5.494 billion.

According to the Chief of the North Sumatra chapter of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), Ivan Iskandar Batubara, banana and mangesteen from the province had high demand in the foreign markets.

In the 1990s, mangesteen became one of the provinces key export commodities due to high demand in Japan and Europe, he noted.

Since then, the export of mangesteen continued to fall as farmers were unable to meet the high demand for the tropical fruit, he explained.

"The government and businessmen need to play a bigger role to support fruit and vegetable producers, who have great potential to sell their products in the international market," the Kadin official said.

(S012/INE/a014)

Reported by Evalisa Siregar

EDITED BY INE.

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