Fresh Partners has been in business for more than 30 years. They supply the European and Middle Eastern markets, as well as markets in various other parts of the world, with produce from Indonesia. This is done by sending daily shipments via airfreight, and containers by sea. "These include products such as ginger, grapefruit, coconut, longan, tamarind, and many more", says Fons Arents of Fresh Partners. He admits that exporting from this part of the world is not without its problems. "This has to do with the differences in food safety criteria. There is, rightly so, a heightened focus on this area in the countries that import our products."
Interest in organics
He continues: "Following their experiences in Thailand, Fresh Partners has found a good base in Indonesia to boost exports from the country. The positives are that, in general, the younger generation here is willing to work in the agricultural sector. Using pesticides sparingly is, also, very important here. There is an increasing interest in organic products with local consumers, and Singapore is nearby."
Fresh Partners currently has an extensive network of fruit farmers, who have come together as the "Indonesia Tropical Fruit Cooperative". "Current products are the durian, leech lime, soursop, red guava, rose apple, snake fruit, kedondong, dragonfruit, jackfruit, rambutan, mangosteen, and various varieties of mango. These products are transported to Jakarta from different parts of Indonesia. The products are carefully sorted at the export centre, and then packaged."
He explains that, due to Indonesia's shape, the seasons do differ slightly, but they do follow each other. "In this way, the mangosteen season is going to start soon in Padang and Medan op Sumatra, then the production moves from Bali and Lampung to East and West Java. Interestingly, for Fresh Partners, is that the seasons in Thailand/Malaysia also differ. This makes it possible to export a certain product almost year-round to supermarkets in Europe and other places. The GlobalGAP certification for various products is currently in the start-up phase."
The Post Harvest Centre in Cipanas was established by the University of Bogo. It is located three or fours hours from the Jakarta airport. "The Post Harvest Centre is going to supply Fresh Partners with a wide range of packed vegetables and herbs. Currently, there is a select group of growers, who will grow specifically for Fresh Partners. They are going to be guided in this, as part of one of the University's projects. We are talking about products like yellow Turmeric, baby corn, kencur, salam leaf, okra, water spinach, chilies, edamame, yard long beans, peteh beans, papaya leaves, melinjo, jenkol, and a range of Japanese vegetables. Also, several kinds of herbs and vegetables are being cultivated that will fill the gap when there is stagnation from Thailand."
With this new approach in Indonesia, Fresh Partners wants to stimulate exports there. "I expect that, possibly in the next year, synergy effects, such as those that took place in Thailand earlier, will develop in the sector. In addition, we are going to promote the products, that are less well-known at the moment, in countries in Europe, and to our other customers."