Technical Assistance II

The potential for catfish (Pangasius) exports to Saudi Arabia is lucrative, estimated to reach 1,150 tons in 2023 to meet the supply of hajj and non-hajj catering. However, the business actors must be ready to maintain supply continuity and meet export regulatory requirements according to SFDA (Saudi Food and Drug Authority). The opportunity and catfish export requirements were discussed during the Market Access of Catfish to Saudi Arabia Seminar, held in collaboration between the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MoMAF), the Ministry of Trade (MoT) and ARISE+ Indonesia at the Indonesia Convention Expo (ICE) BSD, Jakarta.

The seminar on 20 October 2022 was part of the 2022 Trade Expo Indonesia programme, the annual B2B Indonesian products expo organised by the Ministry of Trade to attract international buyers.

In her opening remarks, the Director of Export Development of Primary Products, the Ministry of Trade, Ms Merry Maryati, reiterated the Ministry of Trade's commitment to promoting Indonesian products, including catfish (Pangasius). She encouraged the business actors to take advantage of opportunities to export catfish to various countries, especially Saudi Arabia.

Delivering the keynote speech, the Acting Director General for Product Competitiveness, MoMAF, Ms Ishartini, called for multi-stakeholders collaboration to improve catfish export, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Trade, the Trade Attaché and ITPCs, the Competent Authorities (the Indonesian Food and Drugs Control (BPOM) and the Fish Quarantine and Inspection Agency (BKIPM)), and the association.

The Director of Marketing at the Directorate General of Product Competitiveness at the MoMAF, Mr Erwin Dwiyana, highlighted the opportunities and challenges of Indonesian catfish export. The catfish exporters should seize the export opportunities with the decline of catfish export from Vietnam. However, the constraints on feed, the threat of disease, the entry of illegal catfish and the pending approval number from Saudi Arabia for some Indonesian fishery products are the challenges that must be considered.

The Trade Attaché at the Indonesian Embassy for Saudi Arabia, Mr Gunawan, presented the application process to get an approval number from Saudi Arabia.

The Head of the International Trade and Promotion Center (ITPC) in Jeddah, Mr Rivai Abbas, discussed the way forward strategy to increase catfish export to Saudi Arabia and the support provided by ITPC to facilitate the export.

The Director of Processed Food Circulation Control of Indonesian Food and Drugs Control (BPOM), Ms Ratna Irawati, conveyed the information that BPOM signed an MoU with SFDA in August 2020. However, the SFDA confirmed in September 2022 that SFDA would continue to conduct onsite inspections of compliance with the quality and halal requirements of Indonesian aquaculture products, including catfish.

To date, 59 companies have received approval numbers from the SFDA for captured fish and their processed products, but approval numbers for aquaculture are still pending. SFDA will conduct a site visit to inspect 28 new submissions for captured fish and aquaculture.

According to the Indonesian Catfish Entrepreneurship Association (APCI) representative, Mr Budi Mulyono, the production capacity of the APCI members reached 18,000 tons/year from 57 UPI Fillet, thus ready to meet the demand of hajj 2023. APCI requested support from MoMAF to provide capacity building for the catfish farmers, as well as support from BPOM as the competent authorities of food safety in Indonesia in applying for the SFDA Approval Number.

The seminar was moderated by Ms Artati Widiarti, the former Director-General of Product Competitiveness at the MoMAF.

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