Indonesia as an agricultural country has a competitive advantage in agricultural production in the horticulture sector, namely its climatic and geographical conditions. Indonesia’s tropical climate makes Indonesia one of the producers of tropical fruits in the international market.
Indonesian fruit exporters export their commodities because they see differences in price levels between fruit in the local market and those exported to the international market. In 2020, the retail price of bananas in the local market is Rp. 10,694/kg, while in the international market Rp. 27/264/kg. The price of salak fruit is Rp. 13,455 in the local market, while in the international market Rp. 16,436/kg. Likewise with other fruit commodities.
Challenges Faced by Indonesian Fruit Exporters
According to a survey on the percentage of fruit exports, the results also show that one of the countries that is a potential market for tropical fruit commodities in Indonesia. That means that Indonesian tropical fruits are in great demand by international consumers. However, behind its great potential, there are several challenges faced by Indonesian fruit exporters and farmers.
The main challenges identified are as follows:
1. Price and Quality Competition
The first challenge for fresh fruit exporters and farmers is competition with the domestic fruit market for prime quality prices and total demand. Indonesia has a population of around 210 million people and consumption of fresh fruit has continued to increase from 37 kg of fresh fruit per capita since 2004.
2. Treatment of Fruit Commodities
The intensive main requirement to introduce and adopt fresh fruit commodity treatment practices is also one of the challenges for Indonesian fruit exporters. From production to post-harvest handling and distribution. That’s because there are more small-scale growers than large-scale ones.
3. Weak Integration System
Another common challenge faced by fruit exporters is the lack of an integrated system to meet the increasingly high standards of quality and food safety of importing countries. Trust me, this integrated system will help exporters reduce export handling and transportation costs.
4. Consumer Preferences in Importing Countries
Indonesian fruit exporters are also encouraged to choose between entering the export market or the domestic market. That’s because the preferences of consumers in importing countries can be very different from consumers in the country.
5. Slow Diversification
Limited value-adding efforts for horticultural products and slow diversification on the agricultural and plantation export base are among the factors hindering fruit exporters from developing. Moreover, the unbalanced structural transformation of the fruit export sector exacerbated the situation.
6. Inefficient Supply Chain and Marketing Systems
Furthermore, supply chains and inefficient marketing systems are also a particular challenge for fresh fruit exporters. This is because the economic benefits are not received by farmers and small-scale actors who contribute the most to the entire value chain.
From the several points above, you can see that Indonesia’s horticultural export commodities are still facing various challenges and most of them are still structural. In addition to the above, there are also several challenges such as smallholder harvesting systems, sustainability pressure, low-quality production, low investment, inadequate infrastructure, underdeveloped farming practices, and restrictions on government policies.
Solutions to the Challenges of Indonesian Fruit Exporters
The Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of the Indonesian Economy (MP3EI) implemented by the government is currently trying to address the challenges above. If this master plan goes well, the competitiveness of Indonesian exporters can increase soon.
The role of domestic demand for fresh fruit and vegetables in the country can compete directly with efforts to increase exports of these horticultural products. in a fair economic environment, the competitiveness of these fruit and vegetable products will increase significantly so that the future of the Indonesian horticulture sector will also improve.
In realizing this master plan, several efforts that can be done are:
- Strengthen institutions involved in fruit development, including integrated horticultural development projects, improvement of terracing systems, use of organic fertilizers, cropping patterns, and pest and disease control. All related parties such as universities, government agencies, and the private sector must contribute.
- Developing new hybrid varieties, for example, papaya arum Bogor, mangosteen wanayasa, pineapple delika Subang, etc.
- Supply chain and cold chain distribution system, including building packing houses in fresh fruit production centers, improving packing designs, strengthening management institutions, and applying postharvest handling technology.
- Applying appropriate technology such as Automatic Control of Atmosphere (CA) and Active Atmosphere Storage (MAS) in fruit containers so that the ripening process can be extended during shipment and reach the specified quality when the fruit arrives at the market of the importing country.
The challenges faced by Indonesian fruit farmers or exporters can be solved by providing some of technical assistance, counseling, and empowerment actions at the field level as discussed above.