“Although it presents challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic also provides us opportunities amid the increasing demand for seafood products in the global market," Director General of Strengthening the Competitiveness of Marine and Fishery Products at the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries Artati Widiarti noted in a press release here on Friday.
Moreover, the ministry has targeted to improve the quality of marine and fishery products to increase the volume and value of exports in 2021.
Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Sakti Wahyu Trenggono also targets an increase in the value of exports of around US$1 billion from the earlier year, with a total of US$6.05 billion in 2021.
"During the first quarter of 2021, the exports of marine and fishery commodities showed a positive performance. Based on the Central Statistics Agency’s data, as compared to last year, the increase in export value of marine and fishery products reached 4.15 percent during the January-April 2021 period. The total value of exports during the first quarter of this year reached US$1.75 billion," Widiarti stated.
The minister noted that the positive performance also contributed to the trade balance in the marine and fisheries sector. The trade balance surplus during this period had reached US$1.59 billion, up 3.26 percent, from the figure in the corresponding period of the previous year.
In April 2021, the export value of marine and fishery products had reached US$488.61 million, or 11.6 percent higher than the figure in April 2020. "The marine and fishery sector is expected to boost the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic," Widiarti remarked.
The increase in export value and trade balance surplus in the marine and fishery sector became the momentum to achieve the export target of marine and fishery products of US$6.05 billion in 2021, Widiarti noted.
The United States (US) is the main export destination country for marine and fishery products from Indonesia, followed by China and Japan, respectively.
Shrimp is still the main commodity for the exports of fishery products, followed by tuna-skipjack-mackerel (TCT), squid-cuttlefish-octopus (CSG), crab and seaweed.
The ministry has constantly reminded business actors to enhance the quality of export products in the marine and fisheries sector, so that Indonesian fishery products are not rejected in the global market.
"Quality assurance is important as an effort to increase the world’s market confidence in Indonesian fishery products," Head of the Marine and Fisheries Research and Human Resources Agency (BRSDM) at the ministry Sjarief Widjaja stated.
Widjaja emphasized that Indonesia was the largest exporter of fishery products in the world, with their exports totaling US$5.2 billion in 2020, of which US$4.84 billion came from fish consumption.
Based on data in 2020, some 2,191 fish processing units (UPI) also reported exports to 157 partner countries, with the main export commodities comprising shrimp, tuna, skipjack, mackarel tuna, squid, crabs, seaweed, and layur fish.
"However, despite the quite high export value, fishery products from Indonesian exporters are often rejected since they do not meet the requirements set by the export destination country. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data, as of December 2020, some 97 cases were reported of refusal of Indonesian fisheries exports in 2020," he stated.