Singapore looking at importing more vegetables from Indonesia
Singapore is looking at how it can increase its vegetable imports from Indonesia as it diversifies its food sources.
In his latest blog post, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said vegetable imports from traditional sources like Indonesia and Australia have fallen in the past 10 years.
China, on the other hand, has increased its market share of vegetables in Singapore.
According to statistics from the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), vegetables from China accounted for 29 per cent of total market share last year in 2011, up by 8 percentage points compared to 2002.
China's rising export has reduced Indonesia's volume of vegetable export to Singapore from 32,000 tonnes in 2002 to 21,000 tonnes last year, a 34 per cent drop.
Mr Khaw said pricing is one huge factor, and vegetables are especially price sensitive given its daily consumption.
He cited how the price difference of potatoes has led to a drastic drop of the produce from Indonesia.
The difference between Indonesian and Chinese potatoes is about $0.40 to $0.65 per kilogram.
China now has a market share of 35 per cent or 16,540 tonnes, compared to Indonesia's 9 per cent or 4,349 tonnes.
Mr Khaw said there is potential for Indonesia to increase its exports to Singapore, and the government is working through the Indonesia-Singapore Agribusiness Working Group to see how Singapore can implement practical initiatives.
One way is to study the cost structure of Indonesian agri-produce to identify bottlenecks in exporting from Indonesia.
Production sites, logistics routes and facilities for key Indonesian provinces could also be mapped.
Information exchange on the list of vegetable varieties preferred by Singapore consumers and the source of seeds for targeted vegetables can help to increase the yield and productivity of produce.
More promotion fairs with supermarket retailers could be organised to showcase Indonesian agri-produce.
Mr Khaw said consumers will benefit from diversified food sources as it means they have a larger basket to choose from.
With added competition, prices for some vegetables will come down as well.
Malaysia remains as Singapore's largest source of vegetables, with 43 per cent of market share.
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