RI coffee exports to Italy declining: minister

Jakarta (Antara News) - Indonesia`s coffee exports to Italy dropped continuously over the past few years due to declining production and the commodity`s low quality although the market of the commodity remained open, Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono said.

One of the coffee processing centers in Trieste, Italy, was a regular importer of Indonesian coffee but during the past few years it has been complaining about declining supply, Anton said after opening a horticultural product exhibition here Friday.

Trieste was known as a gateway for Indonesian coffee into Italy which had processing and selecting centers as well as warehouses for coffee from many countries, he said.

The minister said the small volume of Indonesia`s coffee exports to Italy was caused by a drop in production and the low quality of the commodity.

"We must be aware of this condition as Vietnam is catching up with Indonesia. The quality must be improved lest we will lose in the competition," he said.

He said the sorting process by Italian companies showed that about 10 to 15 percent of the Indonesian coffee had been discarded because of its low quality.

In response to the problem, plantations director general at the Agriculture Ministry, Ahmad Manggabarani, admitted Indonesia`s coffee exports to Italy had been declining, but not to other countries.

"In general, coffee production increases but exports have been fluctuating," he said.

Data available at the Agriculture Ministry showed the land the cultivation of robusta coffee reached 1.17 million hectares with a production of 596,000 tons per year while the coffee plantations cover 101,876 hectares of land with a production of 61,251 tons.

Between 2004 and 2006, Indonesia`s coffee exports had been fluctuating. The exports in 2004 reached 344,077 tons worth US$294.11 million, in 2005 reached 445,829 tons (US$503.83 million) and in 2006 amounted to 139,724 tons (US$187.91 million).(*)
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