Indonesian fish producer targets Middle East

By Eliot Beer

- Last updated on GMT

The company has never sold any products to the Middle East and wants to find a partner to bring Indonesian fish products to the region
The company has never sold any products to the Middle East and wants to find a partner to bring Indonesian fish products to the region

Related tags: Middle east, Indonesia

An Indonesian canned fish producer is aiming to make its entry into the Middle East food market, as Indonesia’s government aims to bolster its national fishing industry.

Bali Maya Permai Food Canning (BMP) is keen to expand its presence into the Middle East, to take advantage of regional demand for Halal producers. Currently the firm produces around 30,000 tonnes of canned fish a year, and exports its canned sardine, tuna and mackerel products to the US and countries in Africa and South East Asia.

We have never sold anything to the Middle East, and we want to bring Indonesian fish products to the region​,” said Sally Sukardjo, export marketing manager at BMP, speaking at Gulfood earlier this month. “We want to find a good partner here – we are very serious, that’s why we have a booth here at Gulfood. We want people to know our company, to know we exist, so we can do business here.​”

Price and Halal advantage

Sukardjo says BMP can be very competitive on price, thanks to its proximity to major fishing grounds: “We have supplies of raw materials, while others have to import the fish. Also we’re one of the biggest Muslim countries: many people are looking for products from Indonesia, because they are Halal. The Indonesian Halal authorities are recognised in the Middle East, and this is an advantage in the region​.”

She also believes Indonesia’s fishing industry may receive a boost from the government’s new zeal for protecting its sovereign waters. Under new president Joko Widodo, the Indonesian navy has seized and destroyed a number of foreign vessels fishing illegally in its waters, as well as severing an agreement last month to allow Chinese fishing vessels access to its waters.

Increased supplies for export

At the moment the government is doing its work – they have been catching illegal fishing vessels. That was a start. I think illegal fishing is going to end soon, and hopefully our fish supply will be more for the use of Indonesians – in which case we can export more​,” said Sukardjo.

She said BMP’s experience at Gulfood – its first time exhibiting at the show – has been very positive: “We’ve had plenty of enquiries, many people are interested in doing business with us. There are potentials – we will do our homework, and look at everything. It is worthwhile to come to the show, and we want to come back​.”

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