Indonesia is willing to share its expertise with Qatar in spice production, aimed at further boosting the latter’s growing agriculture sector and self-sufficiency efforts, according to Sustainable Spices Initiative – Indonesia executive director Sidi Rana Menggala.
“Qatar could improve its bilateral relations in areas of agriculture to benefit from spices and other agricultural products abundant in the country; Indonesia can provide Qatar with the needed expertise to improve its spices and other agricultural products industry,” he said.
Menggala was one of the speakers at the 9th Qatar International Agricultural Exhibition (AgriteQ) and the 3rd Qatar International Environmental Exhibition (EnviroteQ), which concludes today (March 14) at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre.
In his presentation, titled ‘Strengthening Partnership Qatar and Indonesia for Spices’, he said enhancing their collaboration will play a key role in further improving both countries’ agriculture sectors and “could serve as an essential avenue for foreign exchange earnings and help improve their economies in general.
“Through the collaboration, with the output as earlier that can boost food production and create employment”, Menggala stressed.
He noted that Qatar, despite having harsh summer, can grow spices such as black and white pepper, among others, using modern farming technologies.
Qatar and Indonesia, Menggala said, use various spices in their cuisine, besides offering a unique characteristic of plant species used as spices.
He pointed out that while spices are plant materials (seeds, fruits, leaves, root buds, whole plants) traditionally used for flavouring, garnishing, or improving the quality of food, “they occupy a pivotal role in the traditional health care system as medicine, perfumes, and cosmetics for traditional rites.”
Menggala said Qatar imported $18.9mn in spices in 2019, becoming the 35th largest importer of spices in the world. In the same year, he noted that spices was the 258th most imported product in Qatar and primarily from India ($5.96mn), China ($4.96mn), Iran ($2.67mn), Pakistan ($1.29mn), and Netherlands ($1.25mn).
“What about Indonesia, especially for spices? Indonesia is a country rich in abundant natural resources, one of which is spices. Currently, spice commodities are still one of the leading export commodities to European and American countries.
“Types of Indonesian spices that are well known to the world include pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla, turmeric, and ginger. Based on data released by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) 2016, Indonesia occupies the fourth largest position in the world as a spice-producing country with a total production of 113,649 tonnes and total exports reaching $652.3mn.
“This is the entry-point of the south-south partnership, where educators, trainers, and other professional agriculture experts from Indonesia may have the opportunity to enrich the production and postproduction of agriculture-spices practices that lead to increased import of Indonesian spices to Qatar,” he said.
Indonesian ambassador Ridwan Hassan said that high-quality agricultural products, as well as farming technologies, are being showcased at the event. These include spices and herbs, tea and coffee, various kinds of end-products from moringa and processed food from agricultural or fishery items.
He stressed that the Indonesian government is working with the relevant ministries, as well as private sector, in Qatar "to discuss the cooperation that we can further elaborate in the agriculture sector, considering the two countries share the view of the importance of food security."
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