Today the horticulture industry was made busy with polemics over the policy of import prohibition of horticulture products by issuing Regulation of the Ministry of Trade. As known the Government restricted import of horticulture products by issuing Regulation of the Ministry of Trade (Permendag) no 30 2012 on the stipulation of import of Horticulture.
The Regulation contained rules and obligations to be fulfilled by importers to protect the domestic market and consumers. According to the new policy, import of horticulture products could only be done by companies which were acknlowledged as registered producer-importer of horticulture products by the Directorate General of Overseas Trading on behalf of the Ministry if Trade.
So import of horticulture products was only permissible in a situation where domestic horticulture products were unable of fulfill public demand. That was the essence of publicized import regulation released by the Ministry of Trade recently.
According to record of the Ministry of Trade, import of horticulture products had been constantly increasing since 2006. In 2006 total of imported horticulture products was posted at USD 600 million, then in 2007 rose to 787.86 million, in 2008 increased to USD 881,62 million, in 2009 increased to USD 1.054 billion and in 2010 increased to USD 1.254 billion and in 2011 reached USD 1.757 billion.
Horticulture products mostly imported through January-December 2011 were garlics worth USD 242,42 million, apple USD 153,87 million, lemon USD 150.25 million, lengkeng USD 96.96 million, pear USD 92.6 million, red onions USD 75.47 million, durian USD 74.87 million, fresh potatoes USD 47,26 million, other USD 724.39 million.
Imported fruits were identified as originating from China, Thailand, the USA, Chilli and Australia. Meanwhile imported vegetables were mostly from China, Thailand, Myanmar, India and Vietnam. The main import harbors were Tanjung Priok, Tanjung Perak, Belawan, Dumai, Tanjung Emas, Batu Ampar, and Ujung Pandang.
The Permendag Regulation no. 12/2010 on Horticulture obliged importers to observe the food safety aspect, availability of products at home, targeting of consumption of horticulture products. Importers must also obey rules on packaging and labeling, quality standardization and stipulations on safety and protection of human’s health and health of animals, plantation and conservation of the environment. Labeling of imported products must be in Indonesian language.
It was mandatory for import of horticulture products to have import permit from the Ministry of Trade by recommendation of the Ministry of Agriculture while technical check up on imported product at the loading port was necessary.
The Ministry of Trade would also control import and distribution of horticulture products including examination of packaging and labeling. The Ministry of Trade could set up an integrated team consisting of related parties.
To look into the matter cool headedly, in fact the regulation was based on good intention. Firstly to reform import mechanism of products of horticulture products whereby to enable small business to be involved un the effort instead of just involving big players of prevalent big scale industry.
Secondly, to protect health, security and safety of consumers. Naturally quantantine was needed over a certain period of time in order to makes sure whether some imported horticulture products had met the basic requirements in terms of hygiene, safety and greenness (K3L). If the products could meet the requirements they could be marketed in Indonesia. If they failed to meet the requirements they could be deported to the country of origin.
Thirdly, to ensure better welfare for local farmers by allowing local consumers to consume their products. For the sake of national interest, it was advisable for the Government to make a special regulation to protect the consumers and horticulture growers as long as they were in line with international agreements.
Fourthly to motivate farmers to perform in the agricultural sector and keep them from changing profession to become traders. The only thing was, to empower local farmers, the Government’s support as regulator and facilitator was needed whereby to give farmers access to banks. Indonesia being an agricultural country, it was only reasonable that the agricultural center including horticulture as sub sector deserved greater attention because it was one of the premium sectors which was labor intensive.
The Government must increase farmers’ willingness to step up and maintain quality of horticulture whereby they could compete against imported products. By promoting awareness product quality in terms of hygiene, safety and greenness, this triple requirement must be fulfilled. One thing to be underlined in this case was that the Government’s regulation were not an act of protectionism but rather a measure to secure national interest.
Business News - July 18, 2012