This is the second in a series of three blogs affiliated with USDA’s Agribusiness Trade and Investment Mission, which was led by Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse.
For years, it’s been my privilege to help bring U.S. fresh fruits and vegetables to the grocery stores, restaurant menus and dinner tables of Indonesian consumers.
I represent groups within the U.S. produce industry who export agricultural goods to Indonesia. They include the Washington Apple Commission, the California Table Grape Commission and the Pear Bureau Northwest, all of which have found success in the Indonesian market.
The market for U.S. produce in Indonesia is thriving today, but growers and producers haven’t achieved success on their own. They work closely with Indonesian trade representatives, retailers, consumers and the U.S. government to help establish their products in the country.
USDA in particular provides a lot of support. The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) has agricultural experts living and working in Indonesia full time. They work closely with their Indonesian counterparts to remove trade barriers and make U.S. trade with Indonesia more accessible and affordable. Additionally, through the FAS Market Access Program (MAP), USDA supports a variety of market development activities.
One recent MAP-funded effort that’s had great success is a program created last year called, “The Spirit of Healthy Living.” It was designed to introduce U.S. fresh fruits to consumers and food industry professionals across Indonesia.
Teamwork was the backbone of this program. The U.S. fresh produce industry, FAS staff in Jakarta, importers, retailers and even Indonesian celebrity chefs and bakery associations helped bring a variety of fresh U.S. fruits – during their peak season of August through December – to Indonesian consumers.
This collaborative promotional effort created positive impressions of U.S. fruit among Indonesians. Everyone from chefs at high-end restaurants to moms buying groceries at their neighborhood supermarket learned that U.S. fruit has superior freshness, is high in quality and comes in a wide and diverse variety.
Campaigns like “The Spirit of Healthy Living,” as well as the full range of other USDA programs and initiatives, have been instrumental in boosting U.S. produce exports to Indonesia. Between 2009 and 2010, the volume of U.S. fresh apple exports to Indonesia rose 10 percent, pears rose 14 percent and grapes rose 33 percent. In the last 10 years alone, the total volume of table grapes exported to Indonesia has grown nearly 260 percent.
After years of hard work and diligence, Indonesia is now a top market for U.S. fresh and processed fruits and vegetables. In 2010, the United States exported $95.5 million worth fresh fruit and $33.7 million worth of processed fruits and vegetables to Indonesia.
Last week’s USDA Agribusiness Trade and Investment Mission led by Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse is an endorsement of the U.S. government’s continued commitment to boost trade with Indonesia.
To learn more about the Agribusiness Trade and Investment Mission to Indonesia, visit http://www.fas.usda.gov/icd/TIM/Indonesia/default.asp.