Home Traditional foods have export potential The government expects to export some US$6 billion in food and beverages
this year, an increase of about 6 percent from 2010’s figure.
increase the value, the government will focus on promoting traditional
culinary specialties because they combine the possibilities of obtaining
more revenue and creating both jobs and a sense of national identity, a
top trade official says.
Deputy Trade Minister Bayu
Krisnamurthi said Sunday that exposing traditional foods to foreign
markets would result in thousands of Indonesians being employed within
export-oriented traditional culinary industries.
“At the same
time, we have a very large captive market, following the success of a
growing number of Indonesian restaurants abroad, as well as supermarkets
selling Indonesian spices,” he told The Jakarta Post via text message.
said currently, traditional culinary exports were minimal, especially
in comparison to other Asian countries, whose culinary diversity was not
as varied as Indonesia’s, such as Japan, Thailand and South Korea, to
name a few.
He added that it would be possible to start
exporting by displaying traditional cuisine during bilateral and
multilateral occasions abroad.
“We have collaborated with the Foreign Ministry as well as several of Indonesia’s embassies abroad,” he said.
Foreign Ministry’s director general for American and European affairs,
Retno L.P. Marsudi, said a focus group discussion was held two weeks ago
in Jakarta to find ways to promote traditional foods abroad.
string of local, well-known chefs, restaurateurs and representatives
from trade, industry and tourism and the creative industries attended
“Our culinary promotion is not yet well
developed. Therefore, we gathered here [in Jakarta] and talked,” Retno
said over the phone.
She said that early next year, participants
would gather again and draw up a road map with traditional culinary
strategies. Among them are food choices, promotion methods and taste
She said Thai dish tom yam gung had a similar
taste across the globe because the Thai government had been involved in
standardizing its taste, adding the government would standardize the
taste of local foods, such as sate ayam and rendang.
A week ago,
Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said food would
be added to the creative sector, bringing the total number of
sub-sectors to 15.
“We chose food because it is closely related to tourism,” she said.
The creative economy contributed 9.25 percent of a total Rp 131.3 trillion (US$14.4 billion) of exports in 2010.
the amount of imported food and beverages from Malaysia has continued
to increase during recent months, inundating the local market, which is
already overwhelmed with imported products.
The Indonesian Food
and Beverage Association revealed that imports of Malaysian food and
beverages accounted for US$48.8 million in the first eight months of
“They made up 24.7 percent of Indonesia’s total food
and beverage imports up until October, increasing from 18.5 percent by
April,” the association’s secretary-general, Franky Sibarani, said in a
The association also revealed that imported food from ASEAN countries reached $96.5 million in the same period. (fem/rcf)