The Jakarta Post
The government has set an export target of US$3 billion for furniture and handicrafts this year, up 13.2 percent from last year, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan says.
He said the government also expected an increase in export values to $5 billion over the next five years.
'We believe that we can reap $3 billion from furniture and handicraft exports this year,' Zulkifli told an audience at the opening of the International Furniture and Craft Fair Indonesia (IFFINA) exhibition in Jakarta on Friday.
Echoing Zulkifli, Indonesian Furniture Entrepreneurs Association's (Asmindo) chairman M. Taufik Gani said he expected a bright export outlook following the industry's success in exceeding its target last year.
'I am confident that we can earn $3 billion from furniture and handicraft exports this year because the country successfully exceeded the target of $2.6 billion set last year,' he said during the opening ceremony of the annual exhibition, which will last until Monday.
The country shipped $1.8 billion worth of furniture and $800 million worth of handicrafts last year, according to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS). Indonesia's exports of furniture and handicrafts, however, still lag behind its peers in the Southeast Asia region.
Indonesia ranked 13th among the world's furniture exporters last year with furniture exports of $1.8 billion, behind Malaysia in eighth place with total exports of $2.4 billion and Vietnam, which was ranked fourth with total furniture exports of $4.2 billion.
Despite Indonesia's low ranking in furniture exports compared to other countries in the region, Taufik said he believed that Indonesia had the capacity to catch up and improve its ranking, citing its abundant natural and human resources.
He added that the country's technology was sufficient to produce handicrafts and furniture of the best quality.
'The only problem lies in marketing, especially overseas,' said Taufik, comparing Indonesia with Vietnam and Malaysia, whose governments are more active in marketing their products overseas.
'We [Asmindo] have engaged in cooperation with the government to enhance marketing strategies, especially overseas, to grow the value of furniture and handicraft exports,' he said.
He added that exhibitions were one of the major strategies to make foreign buyers more familiar with and interested in buying Indonesia's furniture and handicrafts.
The IFFINA exhibition, which has been running since 2008, features a broad range of locally produced furniture and craft products, aimed at building networks between international buyers and local producers.
'IFFINA is part of our marketing strategy to help boost exports of furniture and handicrafts,' said Taufik, adding that Asmindo recently held an exhibition in Switzerland in January and would hold similar events in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany next month.
'We will hold exhibitions in the United States in April and October this year.'
Taufik said he expected the exhibition would book total transactions of $500 million this year, 11 percent higher than the $450 million it booked last year.
That was a lower growth rate compared to the year-on-year 28 percent increase the exhibition recorded in total transactions in 2013.
The number of participants in this year's fair is 217, while the number of visitors, local and foreign alike, is expected to hit 4,000, a 9.2 percent increase from last year's 3,663, according to Taufik.
'I am upbeat that we can generate $500 million in sales during the four days of the exhibition,' he said. (alz)
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